NISCWN| Home

Welcome to National Indigenous Survivors of Child Welfare Network

 

Mission: The National Indigenous Survivors of Child Welfare Network is a national coalition of Indigenous people (Métis, First Nation and Inuit) and organizations which provides leadership, support and advocacy for Indigenous people affected by Indigenous Child Removal Systems in Canada, regardless of where they reside.

 

Objectives

  1. Provide a national forum for the members of the National Indigenous Survivors of Child Welfare Network to express their needs and concerns on behalf of Indigenous people affected by Indigenous Child Removal Systems in Canada;
  2. Ensure access to services for Indigenous people affected by Indigenous Child Removal Systems in Canada;
  3. Provide relevant, accurate and up-to-date information to Indigenous people affected by Indigenous Child Removal Systems in Canada

 

History: Headquartered in Ottawa, Ontario, the National Indigenous Survivors of Child Welfare Network (“the Network”) – formerly the Bi-Giwen Indigenous Adoptee Gathering Committee, is a local group of Indigenous adoptees that recognized the need to create a forum for adoptees and those that experienced foster care due to forced child welfare removal policy practices during the era known as Sixties Scoop.  Since 2013, the Network has been involved in a number of initiatives, focusing on issues related to Indigenous Child Welfare reform both past and present.

  Main Activities

  • The Network has hosted two national healing and cultural reclamation adoptee gatherings in 2014 and 2015. The Network ensures Indigenous adoptees have the appropriate healing supports, information sessions, and networking experiences in a culturally appropriate and land-based environment.
  • The Network has successfully hosted a national solidarity rally for adoptees in 2016. The Network ensures that Indigenous adoptees are given a voice to share their collective stories on a national stage.
  • The Network participated jointly with Origins Canada to present the Indigenous context of past adoption policy and practices in Canada to Members of Parliament and Senators in 2016. The Network ensures clear articulation of the historical context of the ‘60’s Scoop and the direct impacts on Indigenous adoptees and their families.
  • Network has hosted three fundraisers to supports projects agreed and supported by adoptees. The Network aims to have charity-status to finance special project and initiatives.
  • The Network collectively provides workshops and presentations to individuals, organizations and institutions. The Network ensures that access to information is available and up-to-date on issues pertaining to Native Child Welfare issues.
  • The Network is currently involved in the Pe-kiwewin (The act of coming home or arriving) Research Project, a project looking into the ‘60’s Scoop, lead by Dr. Raven Sinclair, University of Regina. The Network, as Knowledge Users, participates in the Indigenous investigative processes for evidence-based information.
  • The Network is currently working with the Legacy of Hope on a ‘60’s Scoop exhibition and curriculum development. The Network ensures the collective experiences of adoptees is captured through a shared engagement process.
  • The Network is involved in a Canadian Institute of Health Research- HIV Community Based Research project looking into the benefits of land-based healing. It is anticipated that if funded, the knowledge gained will assist in creating land-based healing project for Sixty Scoop adoptees dealing with Post-Traumatic Syndrome Disorder.
  • The Network hosted a Pipe Ceremony and Community Feast in Ottawa. The intent of the event was to address the spiritual and emotional needs of Sixties Scoop adoptees who may experience trauma as a result of the Ontario Sixties Scoop class action law suit hearing and to extend ceremonial blessings to Marcia Brown, the lead plaintiff and her legal team as they make their presentation to the court.
  • The Network incorporated on August 2, 2016 as a not-for-profit organization. The intent of this action is to enable the organization to enter into funding agreements with various partners and allow the Network to be the national voice for Indigenous members across Canada.

BACKGROUND ON THE 60’s SCOOP

  • The term Sixties (60’s) Scoop was coined by Patrick Johnston in his 1983 report Native Children and the Child Welfare System. It refers to the Canadian practice, beginning in the 1960s and continuing until the late 1980s, of apprehending unusually high numbers of children of Aboriginal peoples in Canada and fostering or adopting them out, usually into non aboriginal families[i]
  • Up to 20,000 First Nation and Métis children from the late 1950’s up to the 1980’s have been impacted by the colonial child welfare policy where thousands were forcibly and illegally taken from their ancestral territories and scattered throughout Canada, the United States and Europe in non-Indigenous households.
  • Like many survivors in the Indian Residential School System, many adoptees and foster care survivors endured tremendous violence, abuse and racism in their households as they share a common experience of loss of language, ceremony, familiarity of extended family, and connection to their identity through the land.
  • Stories of unsuccessful efforts to reintegrate adoptees back into their extended families and territories have led many feeling like they didn’t fit in anywhere.
  • While not all experienced these types of trauma, many have formed a strong sense of character, duel identities and cultural navigation skills.
  • The Indigenous Adoptee Gathering Committee was formed as a result of a roundtable hosted in 2013 by Manitoba’s Minister of Aboriginal Affairs, Eric Robinson. The roundtable brought together 18 Indigenous adoptees and their families to Winnipeg to share and discuss the effects of child welfare policies that resulted in many Indigenous children being taken away illegally from their families in the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s. As a result of that meeting, Manitoba adoptees are in the process of forming a provincial body to provide information and services to adoptees returning back to the indigenous lands and communities. In addition, in early 2014 Canada’s aboriginal affairs ministers asked the country’s premiers to look at compensation and counselling for Indigenous children adopted into white families.

[i] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sixties_Scoop