National Indigenous Survivors of Child Welfare Network
1805-440 Gloucester Street
February 19 2017
The Honourable Carolyn Bennett, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs
House of Commons Ottawa, Ontario
The National Indigenous Survivors of Child Welfare Network (“the Network”) is writing this letter to request a meeting with you in light of the recent decision by Ontario Superior Court in favour of Indigenous plaintiffs in the class-action lawsuit on behalf of Sixties Scoop adoptees. Although it represents just one small victory for the Ontario class of adoptees, thousands of adoptees and foster care survivors across the Nation are looking to the Liberal government for a far-reaching national resolution. Given your recent statements on CBCs The Current that you’d like to fix this issue by sitting down with survivors to talk about what really matters for us, we at the Network request a seat at the negotiation table.
The Network is unique, as it’s the only community-based adoptee-led organization working with Sixties Scoop adoptees & foster care survivors. We are intimately connected to hundreds of adoptees across Canada, the US, and overseas. From the grassroots work we initiated in 2014 with our first adoptee gathering, we’ve built strong relationships grounded in ceremony, understanding, respect, trust, and compassion for each other’s’ healing journeys. As a result, we are uniquely situated to work collaboratively with this government towards a national resolution for Sixties Scoop adoptees and foster care survivors.
The Network is connected to urban and rural First Nations, Metis and Inuit adoptees & foster care survivors who’ve reached out to us over the years, looking for resources, friendship, and cultural reconnection. Our work is aimed not just at advocating and supporting adoptees and foster care survivors, but ensuring survivors and future generations are culturally connected, proud of who they are and where they came from, and have the necessary programs and services in place for wellness and healing to take place across Canada.
Our central concern in working towards a national resolution to ongoing litigation is that all impacted adoptees and foster care survivors are not just included, but centred and prioritized, in any discussions about their cultural losses and in strategizing ways forward. It’s vital that our voices are heard since it’s the survivors who know the impacts of the Sixties Scoop the best because we speak to it from our lived experiences.
The goal of the Network’s inquiry is to ensure that Sixties Scoop survivors have a voice in all processes affecting their lives. The collective efforts of all parties are an important first step in the act of reconciliation that will help in healing processes, not just for the Sixties Scoop community, but for all parties involved. It’s our philosophy that each step we take together must be led by the Sixties Scoop community; decisions about us should include us, at all times.
I commend you Minister Bennett for taking on the enormous task of finding a fair resolution for survivors. We look forward to hearing back from you.
Colleen Hele-Cardinal, Elaine Kicknosway, Duane Morrisseau-Beck
The Hon. Jody Wilson-Raybould, P.C., M.P. Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada
Marie-Claude Landry, Chief Commissioner of the Canadian Human Rights Commission
National Chief Perry Bellegarde, Assembly of First Nations
President Clément Chartier, Métis National Council and Provincial Affiliates
President Melanie Omeniho, Les Femmes Michif Otipemisiwak (Women of the Métis Nation)
Robert Bertrand, National Chief , Congress of Aboriginal Peoples
Francine Joe, Interim President, Native Women’s Association of Canada
Erin Corston, Executive Director, National Association of Friendship Centres
Executive Director, Jennifer Henry, KAIROS-Ottawa
Executive of the General Council, General Secretary, United Church of Canada
Nathan Wright,COO, Chiefs of Ontario
Romeo Saganash, MP
Backgrounder on National Indigenous Survivors of Child Welfare Network
The NISCWN, was formed in September 2016, as a national voice to (a) 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; (b) Ensure access to services for Indigenous people affected by Indigenous Child Removal Systems in Canada; and (c) Provide relevant, accurate and up-to-date information to Indigenous people affected by Indigenous Child Removal Systems in Canada. For more information on who we are and what we do, go to www.indigenousadoptee.com.