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Support Info: If you are a Survivor and need emotional support, a national crisis line is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week: Residential School Survivor Support Line: 1-866-925-4419. Additional Health Support Information: Emotional, cultural, and professional support services are also available to Survivors and their families through the Indian Residential Schools Resolution Health Support Program. Services can be accessed on an individual, family, or group basis.” These & regional support phone numbers are found at https://nctr.ca/contact/survivors/ .

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Wednesday, May 4, 2022

‘60s Scoop survivor Leah Ballantyne grew up thinking she was the only one

 VIDEO

‘Growing up I kind of thought, why am I this lone person…”


Leah Ballantyne was just 11 days old when she was adopted out to a Scottish family in Winnipeg – by the time she was 13, she was already searching for her birth parents.

Riding the bus to school through Winnipeg’s downtown core, she would see Indigenous people and wondered if they were relatives.

“Growing up, I kind of thought, why am I this lone person and adopted into a family? Why didn’t my family want me and what were the circumstances? And as I learned that the ‘60s Scoop was actually a part of a process that started with reservations, and the Indian Act, and residential schools, and day schools,” she says on the latest episode of Face to Face.

“Then I realized that I was part of something that was a separation that was going on through government policy.”

The push to finally find out where she came from came after an event in Vancouver.

She says she was inspired by speeches by former Assembly of First Nations national chief Ovide Mercredi and Mohawk Council of Kahnawake grand chief Joe Tokwiro Norton

After, she went digging into her past.

Ballantyne’s birth mother had registered her for a status number at birth so she knew she was from Mathias Colomb Cree Nation. She wrote the chief at the time, the late Pascal Bighetty, asking for help.

Not long after, Ballantyne received a call from Bighetty, who, as it would turn out, was her uncle, telling her he knew who she was and to come home.

Advocating for her community

Ballantyne says the rally and reunification with her community, a “light went on” and she decided she would push for positive changes in law and policy by becoming a lawyer.

To this day, Ballantyne remains the only member of Mathias Colomb Cree Nation to become a lawyer. She is currently working with her nation on child welfare laws and bringing children home, whether they were part of the 60s Scoop, aged out of the care, or still in care.

Ballantyne is vocal about representation and believes those who falsely claim Indigenous identity, should face criminal charges.

“There is a couple of sections in the Criminal Code of Canada for identity and identity fraud and so Indigenous identity fraud is very much a charge that could be laid by any institution that has addressed this kind of issue and people that are claiming false Indigenous identity,” she says.

“And there is no statute of limitation on this type of identity fraud within the Criminal Code.”

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Canada's Residential Schools

The religious organizations that operated the schools — the Anglican Church of Canada, Presbyterian Church in Canada, United Church of Canada, Jesuits of English Canada and some Catholic groups — in 2015 expressed regret for the “well-documented” abuses. The Catholic Church has never offered an official apology, something that Trudeau and others have repeatedly called for.

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To Veronica Brown

Veronica, we adult adoptees are thinking of you today and every day. We will be here when you need us. Your journey in the adopted life has begun, nothing can revoke that now, the damage cannot be undone. Be courageous, you have what no adoptee before you has had; a strong group of adult adoptees who know your story, who are behind you and will always be so.

Did you know?

Did you know?
lakota.cc/16I9p4D

Did you know?

New York’s 4o-year battle for OBC access ended when on January 15 2020, OBCs were opened to all New York adoptees upon request without restriction. In only three days, over 3,600 adoptees filed for their record of birth. The bill that unsealed records was passed 196-12.

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As the single largest unregulated industry in the United States, adoption is viewed as a benevolent action that results in the formation of “forever families.”
The truth is that it is a very lucrative business with a known sales pitch. With profits last estimated at over $1.44 billion dollars a year, mothers who consider adoption for their babies need to be very aware that all of this promotion clouds the facts and only though independent research can they get an accurate account of what life might be like for both them and their child after signing the adoption paperwork.

Original Birth Certificate Map in the USA

Why tribes do not recommend the DNA swab

Rebecca Tallbear entitled: “DNA, Blood, and Racializing the Tribe”, bearing out what I only inferred:

Detailed discussion of the Bering Strait theory and other scientific theories about the population of the modern-day Americas is beyond the scope of this essay. However, it should be noted that Indian people have expressed suspicion that DNA analysis is a tool that scientists will use to support theories about the origins of tribal people that contradict tribal oral histories and origin stories. Perhaps more important,the alternative origin stories of scientists are seen as intending to weaken tribal land and other legal claims (and even diminish a history of colonialism?) that are supported in U.S. federal and tribal law. As genetic evidence has already been used to resolve land conflicts in Asian and Eastern European countries, this is not an unfounded fear.

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