Embracing Healing: Sixties Scoop Survivors Seek Justice for Sexual Abuse (John McKiggan K.C.)
I had the honour of representing the survivors of the Shubenacadie Residential School for more than 20 years. But many people don’t realize that after the horrors of the Residential School system finally ended, Canada embarked on another shameful endeavor to assimilate indigenous children.
The Sixties Scoop remains one of Canada’s darkest chapters, where thousands of Indigenous children were forcibly removed from their families and communities and placed into non-Indigenous households. While the devastating cultural and identity losses resulting from this policy has been acknowledged by Canada and forms the basis for the sixty’s scoop class action settlement, another harrowing aspect of this era is now coming to light: the sexual abuse suffered by many of the sixty’s scoop survivors. In an effort to heal and seek justice, survivors are coming forward to share their stories and demand accountability.
Background on the Sixties Scoop:
The Sixties Scoop refers to a period from the 1960s to the 1980s when Canadian provincial child welfare agencies removed Indigenous children from their homes and placed them into foster care or up for adoption, with non-Indigenous families. The primary goal was assimilation, resulting in a profound loss of cultural identity for these children.
Seeking Justice for Sexual Abuse:
The trauma experienced by Sixties Scoop survivors has often gone unrecognized. Survivors are now courageously sharing their experiences of sexual abuse, shedding light on the additional layers of pain they endured during their time in foster care or adoptive homes. The effects of this abuse have been far-reaching, causing significant emotional, psychological, and physical harm.
Coming Forward and Making Claims:
Many abuse survivors have stepped forward to share their stories and make claims for the sexual abuse they endured during their time in foster care. These survivors, who have fought tirelessly to rebuild their lives, are demanding accountability from the governments and institutions responsible for their well-being.
Advocacy and Solidarity:
Support networks and organizations have emerged to assist Sixties Scoop survivors in their fight for justice. These networks are spreading awareness, offering counseling, and providing legal resources to survivors seeking resolution. Law firms specializing in Indigenous rights and child welfare are stepping up to represent survivors in their claims against the agencies and individuals who failed to protect them.
The Path to Healing:
While addressing the sexual abuse suffered by Sixties Scoop survivors may be a painful and daunting process, it is a crucial step toward healing and reconciliation. Recognition of their experiences, validation of their trauma, and accountability of those responsible are vital aspects of this journey.
The bravery of Sixties Scoop survivors in speaking out about the sexual abuse they endured is both commendable and heartbreaking. As a nation, we must support these individuals in their quest for justice, recognition, and healing. By acknowledging and addressing the sexual abuse within the Sixties Scoop, we can work towards a more just and inclusive society, ensuring that the pain suffered by Indigenous communities is never forgotten and never repeated.