The “Sixties Scoop” is a term used to describe a child welfare policy developed and implemented in Canada in the 1960s. As a result, Indigenous children (First Nations, Métis, and Inuit) were apprehended from their families and communities and placed into middle-class Euro-Canadian often far from their families and communities. The system accelerated throughout the 1960s, 1970s, and even into the 1980s and early 1990s. The era known as ‘Sixties Scoop’ had profound intergenerational impacts to Indigenous families, communities, and Nations over three to four generations. There is still much to be done by way of reconciliation on this issue.
The practice of removing Métis children from their home and into state care existed long before the 1960s through the residential and day school system. However, throughout the late 1950s these institutions became highly discredited and the child welfare system became the new agent of assimilation and colonization. While the federal government may have been the prime catalyst for the Sixties Scoop, it was the provincial governments that, according to the Métis Nation, apprehended Métis children.
The legacy of colonialism and the Eurocentric mindset dominated Canadian views of Indigenous people at a subconscious level, often portraying Indigenous people as less worthy and unfit to parent their children. These Euro-Western ideals and values were embedded within Canadian policy, the justice system, the child welfare system and were perpetuated by social workers, administrators, lawyers, government officials, and judges who viewed their everyday practices to be in the best interest of Indigenous children. Indigenous children often were apprehended because of the incongruence between Euro-Western notions, cultural practices and the realities of Indigenous communities; the ideal home for a child needed to be an environment to which society was familiar with: white, middle-class homes in white, middle-class neighbourhoods.
The separation of children away from their families and their placement into foster homes led to the destitution of family. Children were often physically, psychologically, and sexually abused while they were in the care of their non-Métis families. Much like the residential schools, children grew up in an environment that did not foster the growth of parenting or life skills. The forced removal of these children, and the intergenerational trauma, is directly linked to the socio-economic difficulties that face the Métis Nation today.
-Excerpt from the Métis Nation’s Sixties Scoop webportal and official site for survivors: Métis Experience | Métis Nation Sixties Scoop1
- Métis Nation Sixties Scoop (https://metissixtiesscoop.ca/metis-experience/)