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Monday, August 3, 2020

Indigenous children for sale: The MONEY behind the Sixties Scoop #HumanTrafficking

Adoptive U.S. parents paid thousands for Indigenous Manitoba children


Carla Williams was adopted by a Dutch family during the Sixties Scoop. (CBC)

Marlene Orgeron recalls the day her adoptive Louisiana parents told her they bought her for $30,000. Her brothers, they told Marlene, were "freebies."
It left her feeling worthless.

"They told me I should feel grateful they paid anything for me at all," Orgeron said. "I felt so guilty."
Marlene Orgeron was taken from her home in Shoal Lake, Man., in the 1970s and adopted by a family in the U.S. (CBC)
It's the latest revelation in a story survivors say has haunted them for decades: the money behind the Sixties Scoop.
The scoop, as it is called, refers to the era from the 1960s to the 1980s, when child welfare authorities scooped up Indigenous children and adopted them out to non-Indigenous families.
Those placed in homes outside the country weren't just adopted out of their Indigenous homes and into mostly white American families — they were bought and paid for.
"It hurts so much, but I have waited so many years for someone to finally talk about this," said Dianne Fast, whose brother Willy was seized from their Eriksdale, Man., home and adopted by a couple in Indiana.
His value? Fast said her brother went for $10,000.
"His mother used to say she owned him."
Carla Williams, also from Manitoba, was adopted by a family in Holland for $6,400.
Manitoba twins Alyson and Debra ended up in Pennsylvania. They said they were valued at $10,000 as a pair.
Wayne Snellgrove calls it human trafficking.
"[My adoptive parents] paid a lot of money for me," said Snellgrove, who started out in foster care.
"They farmed us out to an [American] adoption agency and then they sold me."

'It sickened me'

Williams said the thought of the transactions is revolting.
"It sickened me," she said.
Barbara Tremitiere was surprised to hear this. Now retired, during the 1970s she was an adoption worker with the Pennsylvania-based Tressler Lutheran Home for Children.
They worked hard to find homes for children with "special needs," she said. Canadian Indigenous children were deemed special needs.
"Because you didn't want them," Tremitiere said. "I was once told by a native person from [Manitoba], on one of the reservations ... 'We passed on to you what we didn't want.' And they were probably right."

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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.

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