Métis Victims of Sixties Scoop Eligible to Participate in Civil Lawsuit
From 1965 to 1984, the Ontario Children’s Aid agencies removed approximately 16,000 Métis, First Nations and Inuit children from their families and placed them in the care of non-aboriginal families. This practice, which has become known as the Sixties Scoop resulted in these children losing their cultural identities, being separated from their natural families, losing access to their medical histories and it placed obstacles to their reclaiming Aboriginal rights and status, should they wish to do so at some point in the future.
This practice only ended in 1984 after Ontario First Nation Chiefs passed resolutions against it, and a Manitoba judicial inquiry released Report of the Review Committee on Indian and Métis Adoptions and Placements, which harshly condemned it.
In 2009, two survivors of the Sixties Scoop, Robert Commanda and Marcia Brown-Martel launched a class action lawsuit against the federal government. The lawsuit was certified in 2010 for claims of negligence and breach of fiduciary duty by the federal government. The lawsuit only names the Attorney General of Canada because the federal government is constitutionally responsible for Aboriginal peoples. Commanda and Brown-Martel have retained the services of the Wilson Christen Barristers Law Firm and are currently seeking additional claimants to join the suit.
While the focus of media attention has been on First Nations victims of the Sixties Scoop, a number of Métis are known to have also been removed from their families, and Métis individuals are eligible to participate in the suit providing they meet the following criteria:
- Individuals who were adopted or placed in care between January 1, 1965 to December 31, 1984;
- Individuals who were in care in Ontario;
- Individuals who were moved from an aboriginal home to a non-aboriginal home.
Individuals who participated in the residence schools settlement are encouraged to join the suit but may end up not being eligible.
Wilson Christen Barristers have set up a website that provides potential claimants with more information including how to register as a claimant. The website address is: http://sixtiesscoop.wordpress.com/author/sixtiesscoop/
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