Metis feel left out of ’60s Scoop set­tle­ment un­veiled by feds

Northumberland Today - - NATIONAL - KRISTY KIRKUP

OT­TAWA — Metis peo­ple say they feel left out of the fed­eral Lib­eral gov­ern­ment’s mul­ti­mil­lion-dol­lar set­tle­ment with vic­tims of the so-called ’60s Scoop, which saw Indige­nous chil­dren re­moved from their homes and placed into the foster care sys­tem.

Duane Mor­ris­seau-Beck, a ’60s Scoop sur­vivor and a di­rec­tor of the Na­tional Indige­nous Sur­vivors of Child Wel­fare Net­work, likened his feel­ings to when he first learned he was adopted as a child in Man­i­toba.

“It just brought me right back to when I was six years old,” Mor­ris­seau-Beck said Tues­day of the fed­eral gov­ern­ment’s an­nounce­ment last week.

“I still get chills be­cause it re­ally re­in­forced, sort of, that mem­ory … It goes back to feel­ing dis­con­nected and not wanted.”

It’s a feel­ing many in the Metis com­mu­nity know well, he added.

“I have been in­un­dated with Facebook post­ings and in­box mes­sages ask­ing why we are not in­cluded,” he said. “I don’t have an an­swer to that ques­tion.”

The Metis Na­tional Coun­cil has also been flooded with calls, said pres­i­dent Cle­ment Chartier, who com­plained of hav­ing been left in the dark about the set­tle­ment, which com­mits up to $750 mil­lion in com­pen­sa­tion for sta­tus In­dian and Inuit vic­tims.

“I am dis­ap­pointed that the fed­eral gov­ern­ment didn’t ask us or con­sult us about this whole process and let us know it was hap­pen­ing,” Chartier said in an in­ter­view.

“That would have been a rea­son­able thing to do; at least we would have been able to voice our con­cerns and de­ter­mine what are the is­sues and what do we need to have it re­solved and have Metis Na­tion cit­i­zens af­fected by the ’60s Scoop dealt with.”

The set­tle­ment fol­lows an On­tario court de­ci­sion from Fe­bru­ary, when the fed­eral gov­ern­ment was found li­able for the harm done to at-risk, on-re­serve Indige­nous chil­dren who were placed in non-Abo­rig­i­nal homes from 1965 to 1984 un­der terms of a fed­eral-pro­vin­cial agree­ment.

The of­fice of Crown-Indige­nous Re­la­tions Min­is­ter Carolyn Ben­nett said Tues­day it is com­mit­ted to work­ing with other scoop vic­tims.

“Part of that col­lec­tive work in­cludes work­ing with our pro­vin­cial and ter­ri­to­rial part­ners to find a way for­ward on the out­stand­ing ’60s Scoop claims,” the of­fice said in a state­ment.

It also pointed to the fed­eral in­vest­ment of $50 mil­lion to re­vi­tal­ize Metis, First Na­tions and Inuit lan­guages and cul­tures.

The prov­inces, too, bear as much re­spon­si­bil­ity as Ot­tawa — if not more — for the dam­ages wrought by re­mov­ing chil­dren from their fam­i­lies and putting them in the so­cial ser­vices sys­tem, said lawyer Tony Mer­chant.

“We are su­ing all across Canada,” Mer­chant said. “Those ac­tions will con­tinue. They are not set­tled and the ac­tions against the pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ments, I hope, will re­cover for the Metis and non­sta­tus In­di­ans ... they too are left out.”

Mer­chant said his group is also seek­ing ad­di­tional com­pen­sa­tion for sta­tus and non-sta­tus In­di­ans as well as Metis who were sex­u­ally and phys­i­cally abused as a re­sult of hav­ing been re­moved from their homes.

“The dam­ages that Canada is pay­ing only ad­dress loss of cul­ture,” he said.

“We have many re­ally hor­ri­ble sto­ries of sex­ual and phys­i­cal abuse — par­tic­u­larly sex­ual abuse of adopt­ing fathers or older broth­ers hav­ing sex­ual re­la­tions with girls, mostly, who came into their homes but were dif­fer­ent.”

I still get chills be­cause it re­ally re­in­forced, sort of, that mem­ory … It goes back to feel­ing dis­con­nected and not wanted.” Duane Mor­ris­seau-Beck


Indige­nous sur­vivors, Duane Mor­ris­seau-Beck, di­rec­tor and co-founder of Na­tional Indige­nous Sur­vivors of Child Wel­fare Net­work and Colleen Car­di­nal Co­or­di­na­tor hold a news conference in Ot­tawa on Par­lia­ment Hill on Monday.

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