December 1, 2016 (Ottawa, ON) – The Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) is surprised and greatly concerned with the federal government’s plan to press for the dismissal of the landmark lawsuit filed on behalf of thousands of Aboriginal children taken from their families during what is commonly referred to as the “Sixties Scoop.”
From December 1965 to December 1984, an estimated 16,000 Aboriginal children were removed from their homes and placed in non-Aboriginal homes. Being torn from their support systems and cultural identities severely impacted these individuals, their communities, and future generations. The federal government ignored their obligation to consult with Aboriginal bands before proceeding in this matter, did not take actions to educate the children about their heritage post-adoption, or even initiate post-adoption reviews of the children’s safety.
The federal government’s stance regarding the lawsuit runs contrary to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s pledge to work towards full reconciliation with Canada’s Aboriginal peoples. The recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Report include providing both individual and collective reparations. Beyond considering the physical, emotional, and psychological anguish of the plaintiffs, “States have an obligation to take effective measures…to make reparations where traditional knowledge or cultural rights have been violated.”
“If the Liberal government truly supports reconciliation, they must accept ownership and responsibility for the federal government’s role in the Sixties Scoop,” contributes NWAC president Francyne Joe. “As a mother, it is heartbreaking to imagine the ordeal that these children and families have undergone. In cooperation with the spirit of reconciliation laid out by the Truth and Reconciliation Report, this damage must be formally acknowledged and this case must be tried.”
The Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) is founded on the collective goal to enhance, promote, and foster the social, economic, cultural and political well-being of First Nations and Métis women within First Nation, Métis and Canadian societies. As a national organization representing Aboriginal women since 1974, NWAC’s mandate is to achieve equality for all Aboriginal women in Canada.
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