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Saturday, February 14, 2015

Between Two Worlds: Wayne William Snellgrove

Wayne Snellgrove (center) lives in Miami (File Photo)
‘We were lost between 2 worlds,’ survivor of Canada aboriginal kids’ adoption tells RT

Download video (13.59 MB) Please watch!
Earlier story about Wayne on this blog HERE

US national swimming champion Wayne William Snellgrove, one of the victims of Canada’s so-called “Scoop” program, an adoption scheme though which Aboriginal Canadian children were placed with white families, has told RT it stripped survivors of their identities.
“They’re lost between two worlds, they’re not part of the native culture and they don’t assimilate well with the white culture. They’ve lost their identity and it’s a really sad thing,” Snellgrove told RT about the thousands of kids who were taken from their homes from the 1960s to the 1980s, of which he was one.

Snellgrove himself was taken from his Saskatchewan mother at birth in the 1970s, and spent the first few years of his life in the care of the Canadian government. He was eventually adopted by a white family in the United States, and did not meet his birth mother until he was 32.
“I realized I had been in mourning my entire life and didn’t even know it,” he told RT of the adoption.

Snellgrove also recounted some the fraught historical context for the misguided and damaging adoption policy.
“They [white European settlers] have a very dark history of the way they treated the Aboriginal population. They tortured, they killed them, they murdered them, they raped them. All these stories are part of my story they’re part of my culture.”


The swimming champ recalled feeling out of place and lost with his American family. Though Snellgrove says he was placed into a loving home and that his adoptive parents tried their best to raise him, he was still plagued by depression and could not assimilate into white culture.
“They gave me every opportunity, but the thing is I’m not white. I did not assimilate well into white culture… There were still feelings of loss and abandonment as to why I was with the family I was with,” he said.

Though Snellgrove got the chance to meet his mother after hiring a private investigator and searching for her for seven years, he says that others are not so lucky.
“There were hundreds of kids taken from my reserve, hundreds of kids taken across Canada – thousands of kids. And from my reserve I was the third one to make it back – the third one ever to touch my ancestral lands again,” he told RT.

ARCHIVE PHOTO: First Nations protesters march towards Parliament Hill in Ottawa January 11, 2013. (Reuters / Chris Wattie)
ARCHIVE PHOTO: First Nations protesters march towards Parliament Hill in Ottawa January 11, 2013. (Reuters / Chris Wattie)

Many of these children are now seeking reparations from the Canadian government. More than 1,800 people have signed onto a class action suit lawsuit. The plaintiffs are being represented by the Merchant Law Group, which served the federal government with the suit in late January.
Tony Merchant, the head legal counsel at Merchant, claims that children suffered physical, psychological and sexual abuse as a result of the program. He criticized it as a misguided paternalistic attempt at assimilating Aboriginal Canadian children.

"It was part of the paternalistic approach, that if we could get children out of the hands of Aboriginal people, we could give them a better life in the future by taking away their culture and turning red children into white adults," he was quoted as saying by CBC.

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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.

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ADOPTION TRUTH

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.

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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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