The Canadian government will earmark about $800 million dollars for Indigenous victims of the Sixties Scoop, where some twenty thousand children were placed for adoption outside Indigenous families.
I won’t take issue with the decision. My beef is with the way this decision was communicated by the government, and in coverage by the news media. There was no accountability for the leadership in Indigenous communities, federal and provincial governments and the institutions set up to protect children.
Not then, and not now. The Sixties Scoop happened because there was a crisis in parenting in First Nations. It remains today, with the latest Census figures showing that 48% of all children in foster care in Canada are Indigenous. And more than half of those Indigenous children in foster care today live with parents who are not Indigenous. These are cold hard facts that need to be addressed even more than reconciliation of the past.
Here’s another fact.
In all the announcements about the Sixties Scoop, there has been no mention of the adopting parents, who were not scoopers or monsters, but volunteered to provide safe and healthy home environments.
There was not a single word to acknowledge the sacrifice by adopting families, where these children had a better chance of thriving. These were the parents who welcomed Indigenous children into their homes. They fed them, loved them, nursed them, encouraged and supported them.
And what do they get in return? A feeling of guilt from Indigenous leaders and our federal government that somehow these adopting parents did something horribly wrong.
Yes, words do matter. And sometimes it is the unspoken words of credit that matter most.