’60s Scoop group educates survivors, pushes rejection of federal settlement

Federal government’s compensation proposal includes $50 million for an Indigenous Healing Foundation

Colleen Cardinal, network coordinator of the National Indigenous Survivors of Child Welfare Network, speaks during a news conference in Ottawa, Feb. 2. (Fred Chartrand/The Canadian Press)

Dozens of people gathered in an Ottawa community centre Monday to learn more about the federal government’s proposed multimillion-dollar settlement for survivors of the ’60s Scoop — and why they should reject it.

The National Indigenous Survivors of Child Welfare Network arranged the information session to scrutinize the $800-million deal, which was announced last October but has yet to receive court approval.

“There are so many things that are wrong with this,” network co-founded Colleen Cardinal told the gathering, made up in part of survivors and supporters.

“It’s really important that this information gets out there, by survivors for survivors,” she said. “The federal government is not going to make sure that every survivor knows what their rights are. Our mission is to get out there and let people know what is happening.”

The ’60s Scoop saw thousands of Indigenous children taken from their homes by the federal government and placed with non-Indigenous adoptive and foster families across the country starting around the 1950s.

The government’s compensation proposal includes $50 million for an Indigenous Healing Foundation.

Cardinal denounced the deal, saying the federal government should have first asked survivors what they wanted.

“They don’t even know how many survivors there are,” Cardinal said, disputing the estimated $20,000 to $50,000 payment per person.

Cardinal also criticized the settlement for excluding survivors who are Metis and non-status Indians.

The office of Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett has said the proposed settlement is a first step and the government is committed to using negotiation to resolve any ongoing litigation.

“We know that there are other claims that remain unresolved, including those of the Metis and non-status,” she said a statement from her office.

An Ontario Superior Court judge will hear arguments in Saskatoon and Toronto in May on whether the proposal should be approved.

If the settlement is allowed to proceed, the network will push for at least 2,000 survivors to opt out in an effort to void the deal.

But the government could still push ahead regardless of how many people say they don’t want to be part of the settlement, lawyer Brian Meronek told the gathering.

There is also no guarantee that provinces won’t revoke income assistance payments if someone becomes ineligible after receiving a settlement payout, said Meronek, who represents a group in Manitoba that opposes the settlement.

Cardinal and other organizers have warned survivors to be wary after hearing reports of some lawyers offering to help navigate the settlement in exchange for exploitative contingency fees.

The network is a survivor-led organization based in Ottawa founded in 2014 that offers information and support for survivors. The group has 300 members, and Cardinal said it reaches thousands more online, through its toll-free number and via presentations and gatherings.

The network is also involved in two research projects, the first by Raven Sinclair at the University of Regina about the experience of the ’60s Scoop survivors, using interviews and archival research.

The second is a geographic information system that maps the diaspora of survivors, including their origins and where they were placed.

Geordon Omand, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Vancouver Island Military Museum Veterans Wall of Honour nearing completion

Wall will be B.C.’s largest tribute to veterans’ military service

Nanaimo woman committed armed robberies to fuel drug habit

Caroline Green, 50, had sentencing hearing in Nanaimo court on Friday

Court date moved for Nanaimo city manager accused of threats

Tracy Samra’s court date now scheduled for next month

Crash in Nanaimo claims man’s life

One man dead after crash in Nanaimo. Police say speed and alcohol are considered factors.

RDN receives funding for flood risk assessment

Regional District of Nanaimo to see $80K from B.C. government and $70K from feds

Development permit approved for condos in north-end commercial district

Two five-storey buildings proposed along Metral Drive

Province approves city’s process for borrowing $17M for fire hall

Alternative approval process will start April 3

Nanaimo Harbourfront Library set to host third annual GeekCon

Cosplayers, comic book fans and board gamers unite at library

Nanaimo Recycling Exchange closes its gates

Non-profit recycling depot will spend the rest of the month preparing for site demolition

Public warned not to eat herring eggs harvested from French Creek to Qualicum Bay

Island Health reports vibrio cholerae infection linked to eating herring eggs

Canucks sing the Blues as they fall to St. Louis 4-1

Berglund nets two, including the game-winner, to lift St. Louis over Vancouver

Nanaimo gymnasts win provincial championships and more

Eleven athletes from Nanaimo Gymnastics School represented their high schools at provincials

Calving season brings hope for Cariboo ranchers

Still a lot of work ahead to recover from the wildfires

Most Read