The Sixties Scoop

Information on this page relates most to Idle No More Manitoba themes:

5 - history

What was the Sixties Scoop?

When people use the term “Sixties Scoop” they are talking about the removal of large number of Indigenous children from their families and into the child welfare system.  Before the 1960s Indigenous children had been removed from their families and placed in residential schools, however, starting in the 1960s the number of Indigenous children placed into the child welfare system and/or “adopted out” increased dramatically.

Most of the children who were removed from their families were placed in non-Indigenous homes, sometimes as far away as in the United States.  The time period that people mean when they talk about the Sixties Scoop is usually from the 1960s to about the mid-1980s – although Indigenous children are still removed from their homes in large numbers today.

Where did the term “Sixties Scoop” come from?

The term “Sixties Scoop” was coined by a man named Patrick Johnston who wrote a paper in 1983 titled “Native Children and the Child Welfare System”.  (It was written for an organization called the Canadian Council on Social Development.  It is possible to order a copy of the paper for a small fee here.)  Johnston’s paper was also published as a book using the same title.

Learning More About the Sixties Scoop

A good, short article introducing what the Sixties Scoop was can be found here.

(Hint!: The bibliography – or list of articles and other information used to help write the article – found on the link above has many links to other useful information about Indigenous peoples and the child welfare system in Canada.)

Manitoba’s Aboriginal Justice Inquiry  (1991) has a section describing the Sixties Scoop – read it here.

Video: This video called Hidden Colonial Legacy: The 60’s Scoop was produced by filmmaker Coleen Rajotte (who was part of the Sixties Scoop herself) as part of the CBC’s 8th Fire program’s web content.

Audio:  In 1983 the CBC Radio program Our Native Land aired a show about the Sixties Scoop called “Stolen Generations”.  Listen to it off the CBC Archives page here.

“The Sixties Scoop (Scoopster’s)” is a website with many different kinds of information – videos, personal stories, news articles and more.  The site’s title says “Connecting The 60’s and 70’s Scoop with information.”
It has a number of “dead” links but new information seems to be getting posted (as of July, 2013).

Legal Action and the Sixties Scoop

Individuals who were removed from their families as part of the Sixties Scoop have filed several lawsuits.

In October, 2010 the Ontario Superior Court certified a class action lawsuit (that is, saying it could go ahead) for individuals who were part of the Sixties Scoop in that province from December 1, 1965 to December 31, 1984.

The Ontario lawsuit is sometimes talked about as the “Brown and Commanda” lawsuit after Robert Commanda and Marcia Brown-Martel who filed the suit on behalf of others.

This website was created in November, 2010 just after the lawsuit was certified and is updated regularly with information about where the Ontario lawsuit stands.

In 2011, individuals in British Columbia filed a class action lawsuit for people affected by the Sixties Scoop in that province.

This page is from the law firm representing the people from British Columbia.  It has links to updates and media articles about the case.  It has not been updated since 2011.

Also in 2011, 2 women from Saskatchewan filed a class action.  An article about their filing can be found here.


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