The Sixties ScoopMargaret Jacobs, “Stimulating and Resisting Transborder Indigenous Adoptions in North America in the 1970s”1
The Sixties Scoop•Period of mass apprehension of Indigenous children for fostering and adoption to primarily non-Indigenous homes outside of the community, the province, or even the country.•Affected Métis, Inuit, and First Nations families.•Raven Sinclair (2007): “roughly the time from the waning of residential schools to the mid-1980s period of child welfare devolution” and the last closings of residential schools.•Seen by critics as a continuation of the settler state desire to assimilate Indigenous peoples, but by other means.2
The Sixties Scoop•While some adoptees describe being placed in loving homes, others have revealed lives of suffering physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, and even forced labour.•Add to this the emotional trauma of separation from birth families & cultural dislocation.•Sinclair (2007):•Research has shown transracial adoption generally results in positive outcomes, but for Indigenous adoptees research shows primarily negative outcomes (with breakdown often happening by the time the adoptee is in the mid-teens).•However, recent research on Sixties Scoop adoptees as older adults shows more positive numbers for the development of strong and positive identities, despite the challenges of their experiences, with reconnection to Aboriginal cultures as a source of solace and healing.3
The U.S. Parallel•Like with residential schooling, the U.S. and Canada had a simultaneous and parallel history of Indigenous interracial adoption.•1958: Welfare Branch of U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs asked the Child Welfare League of America to test feasibility of interracial adoption for Indigenous children. Resulted in the Indian Adoption Project (IAP).•1967: The IAP merged into the broader Adoption Resource Exchange of North America (ARENA), with adoption programs in dozens of states and Puerto Rico.•Data from the Association on American Indian Affairs (AAIA) “showed that in some states the authorities put Indian children up for adoption ten to fifteen times as often as whites” (Nichols 2017)•Indigenous families & tribal gov’ts objected repeatedly.4
Canada’s Sixties Scoop•Canada’s Sixties Scoop was not one specific program or policy.•Practices in various provinces could be tied to varying changes in law & policy, as well as prevailing assumptions around the adequacy of Indigenous households and parenting.•(Unexamined cultural, racial, class, and gender assumptions, according to Jacobs.)•A legal-bureaucratic incentivization:•The 1951 Indian Actdevolved most First Nation social welfare programs to provinces•Federal gov’t then negotiated agreements with provinces, meaning that when local officials deemed it necessary to apprehend children from a reserve, the fed gov’t would pay the costs to the province.