Many indigenous leaders say Canada’s foster care system is a continuation of cultural genocide against their people. We tell the story of one BC community’s struggle to wrest control from the government, and reinstall indigenous child welfare.

This week’s episode of Cited is part of Discourse Media’s BC Child Welfare Media Day: a multi-organization collaboration with media outlets across the province telling stories about the child welfare system. For our contribution Cited is telling a story about the Sixties Scoop – a two-decades long push to remove aboriginal children from their homes and place them in adopted white families.

First we talk with Splatsin Chief Wayne Christian, who tells the story of his apprehension during the Sixties Scoop. In 1980, Chief Christian led the Indian Child Caravan, an historic struggle to win indigenous autonomy for child welfare decisions in his Shuswap community – a struggle that the provincial government continues to oppose even today.

Next we speak with Prof. Raven Sinclair, a survivor of the Sixties Scoop and a renowned researcher on the Sixties Scoop, transracial adoption, and indigenous social work. Sinclair tells a story about the economics of the Sixties Scoop and how bad research led to longstanding misconceptions about adoption and assimilation.

Bibliography

  • Sinclair, Raven. “Identity Lost And Found: Lessons From The Sixties ScoopThe First Peoples Child & Family Review. 3.1 (2007). 
  • Fanshel, David. Far from the Reservation: The Transracial Adoption of American Indian Children. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press, (1972).
  • Christopher Bagley and Loretta Young. “The Long-Term Adjustment and Identity of a Sample of Inter-Country Adopted Children” International Journal of Social Work. 4.0 (1981).
  • Freire, Paulo, Pedagogy of the Oppressed. Trans. Myra Ramos. New York : Herder and Herder, (1970).
  • Swidrovich, Cherry. “Positive Experiences of First Nations Children in non-Aboriginal Fosteror Adoptive Care: Deconstructing the ‘Sixties Scoop.’”Unpublished MA Thesis. College of Graduate Studies, University of Saskatchewan. Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. (2004).
  • “Ethnic Identity Problems Among Ten Indian Psychiatric Patients,” International Journal of Psychiatry 25 (1979).

Raven Sinclair recently co-directed a documentary about the Splatsin battle fight for child welfare titled “Truth Be Told”. You can see the trailer for the documentary here. Many thanks for her help with this story.

Discourse Media is an independent media organization that produces smart, incisive, and in-depth Canadian journalism. You can check them out at their website: http://discoursemedia.org/

Cited is a podcast and radio show funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council and produced out of the produced out of the world class Michael Smith Laboratories at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver.

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