The next generation of 60s Scoop survivors...
My aunt tells me she and my mother are both survivors of the '60s Scoop, a period of time when government policies allowed child welfare authorities to easily take Indigenous children from their families, place them in foster homes, and in many cases adopt them out to white families. It’s all part of a cycle of trauma and I’m finally beginning to see my place within it.
It was against this backdrop that I found myself covering the confirmation of those 215 school children’s remains buried on the grounds of the Kamloops Indian Residential School, and the emotions I had so carefully kept in check all these years came unexpectedly flooding out.
I sobbed my way through the report, barely able to pronounce the words, as all of the forces that have shaped my life, and my family’s lives, and the lives of so many generations of my fellow Indigenous people, seemed to swirl around me.
Initially, I was embarrassed. But with reflection over the past few days, I realize that I have nothing to be ashamed of, but clearly a lot of work to do.I am still figuring out what that will look like, but I know it will involve an effort to reclaim my cultural identity and learn how I fit within the 'Na̱mg̱is First Nation, and establish stronger ties with my people.We also have a lot of work to do as a country, to confront the terrible atrocities that led us to this place where we are all burdened by a dark and shameful legacy that begins with the residential school system, leading to the '60s Scoop, and continuing today with blatant inequality in the child welfare and criminal justice systems.
It is time for all Canadians to learn the true history of this country’s terrible and ongoing mistreatment of Indigenous people — because only then can true healing and reconciliation begin. For me, that journey of understanding begins now.