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Thursday, March 2, 2017

#60s Scoop Letters to First Nations leaders and Canadian Ministers



Letter to AFN request to meet 60s Scoop adoptees

by Indigenous Adoptees
 

February 19 2017
 
 
National Chief Perry Bellegarde
Assembly of First Nations
55 Metcalfe Street
Suite 1600
Ottawa, ON K1P 6L5
 
Dear National Chief,
 
Thank you for your recent statement “Children of the Sixties Scoop deserve justice, healing and reconciliation” on February 14, 2017. The National Indigenous Survivors of Child Welfare Network (NISCWN) formerly known as BiGiwen Indigenous Adoptee Gathering, began our work in earnest in 2014 in Ottawa, ON. Led by a few local Sixties Scoop adoptees, our goal was to bring adoptees together to share our stories, validate each other’s experiences, and work towards healing grounded in our Indigenous traditions. Our first gathering was a resounding success as 65 adoptees came together in Ottawa from all over Turtle Island to build capacity, share stories, and begin the long process of healing inter-generational wounds and trauma.  In August 2015 we held our 2nd gathering for Sixties Scoop adoptees, foster care survivors, and their families. With the help of trusted Elders and community facilitators, we utilized land-based ceremonies to lead the healing work. At that time we reached out to AFN for support but your office could not accommodate us but thank you for offering. Our 3rd gathering is planned for fall 2017.

The National Indigenous Survivors of Child Welfare Network (“the Network”) is writing this letter to request a meeting with you in light of the recent judicial decision on the Ontario class-action lawsuit on behalf of Sixties Scoop adoptees. Also, given Minister Bennett’s statement on her willingness to engage in negotiations with adoptees, a meeting would be especially timely. During the meeting we would like to discuss and brief you on our work, how the Sixties Scoop has impacted our lives, the work that needs to be done across Turtle Island for healing and reconciliation, and ways that NGO's Chiefs, and advisors can provided necessary support and expertise.

The Network is unique, as it's the only community-based adoptee-led organization working with Sixties Scoop adoptees & foster care survivors. We're intimately connected to hundreds of adoptees across Canada, the US, and overseas. Urban and rural First Nations, Metis and Inuit adoptees & foster care survivors who have reached out to us over the years for support, advocacy, resources and friendship. One common heartbreak and concern we hear from adoptees who've been taken away from their communities is that our Chiefs and First Nation communities have not supported our repatriations nor welcomed us back into the circle. 

Our central concern in working towards a national resolution to ongoing litigation is that all impacted adoptees and foster care survivors are not just included, but centred and prioritized, in any discussions about their cultural losses and in strategizing ways forward. It's vital that our voices are heard since it's the survivors who know the impacts of the Sixties Scoop the best because we speak to it from our lived experiences. 
Although the Ontario class-action lawsuit judgement is one small victory, thousands of adoptees and foster care survivors are once again emotionally triggered by these announcements with reverberations being felt across the nation and beyond. Survivors do not want to be excluded from conversations about us, and together with the Assembly of First Nations the Network wants to ensure that all our voices are represented at the negotiation table, while we continue the critical work of raising awareness about the Sixties Scoop nationally and internationally.
 
We look forward to hearing from you,
 
Colleen Hele- Cardinal, Duane Morrisseau-Beck, Elaine Kicknosway
Directors
 
Backgrounder on National Indigenous Survivors of Child Welfare Network
 
The NISCWN, was formed in September 2016, as a national voice to (a) Provide a national forum for the members of the National Indigenous Survivors of Child Welfare Network to express their needs and concerns on behalf of Indigenous people affected by Indigenous Child Removal Systems in Canada; (b) Ensure access to services for Indigenous people affected by Indigenous Child Removal Systems in Canada; and (c) Provide relevant, accurate and up-to-date information to Indigenous people affected by Indigenous Child Removal Systems in Canada. For more information on who we are and what we do, go to www.indigenousadoptee.com.

SEE MORE LETTERS at their above website. 

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Takeaway Podcast ICWA

What our Nations are up against!

What our Nations are up against!
Survivors, write your stories. Write your parents stories. Write the elders stories. Do not be swayed by the colonizers to keep quiet. Tribal Nations have their own way of keeping stories alive.... Trace

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Indian Country is under attack. Native tribes and people are fighting hard for justice. There is need for legal assistance across Indian Country, and NARF is doing as much as we can. With your help, we have fought for 48 years and we continue to fight.

It is hard to understand the extent of the attacks on Indian Country. We are sending a short series of emails this month with a few examples of attacks that are happening across Indian Country and how we are standing firm for justice.

Today, we look at recent effort to undo laws put in place to protect Native American children and families. All children deserve to be raised by loving families and communities. In the 1970s, Congress realized that state agencies and courts were disproportionately removing American Indian and Alaska Native children from their families. Often these devastating removals were due to an inability or unwillingness to understand Native cultures, where family is defined broadly and raising children is a shared responsibility. To stop these destructive practices, Congress passed the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA).

After forty years, ICWA has proven to be largely successful and many states have passed their own ICWAs. This success, however, is now being challenged by large, well-financed opponents who are actively and aggressively seeking to undermine ICWA’s protections for Native children. We are seeing lawsuits across the United States that challenge ICWA’s protections. NARF is working with partners to defend the rights of Native children and families.

Indian Country is under attack. We need you. Please join the ranks of Modern Day Warriors. Please donate today to help Native people protect their rights.

where were you adopted?

where were you adopted?

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.