by Colleen Hele
May 12, 2015
My name is Colleen and I am the daughter of a residential school survivor, family member of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and I am also a Sixties Scoop adoptee.
If you haven’t heard of the Sixties Scoop, don’t worry, you’re not alone. The Sixties Scoop is a term that is used to describe an extension of the residential school system in which Indigenous children were literally scooped from their families by colonial child welfare authorities and adopted into non-Indigenous families across Turtle Island and overseas.
What this means is that I, and an estimated 20,000 other adoptees, grew up dislocated not only from our families, but from our land, culture and traditions. On a practical level, due to sealed adoption records, many of us do not know how to find or reconnect with our biological families or learn about our medical histories. As the name suggests, the majority of adoptions occurred during the 1960s, but these adoptions began in the 1950s and were carried out as recently as the 1980s.
Two civil action lawsuits have been filed by Sixties Scoop adoptees, and they are part of a growing movement to seek accountability and compensation for our loss of culture. Perhaps even more importantly, many of us continue to seek connection and healing. That is why, over the past few years, I have been working to connect with other adoptees so that we can come together to heal, repatriate, seek answers, and educate others. It is an exciting time for us. Our movement is building momentum and we sincerely hope that you will help us make history by contributing to healing, and education about this “hidden generation”.
There are many ways you can get involved:
1) Donate to our GoFundMe Campaign. In July 2015 my son and I will be traveling with a documentary film crew (Skylarc Pictures) by van from Ottawa to Edmonton, with stops along the way in Regina, Saskatoon, Winnipeg, and Sault Ste. Marie. In each stop we will be connecting with and interviewing other Indigenous adoptees, Elders, and youth about their experiences of being raised in non-Indigenous households, finding their biological families, and healing from loss of culture and identity. The film will be told from the viewpoint of my son Sage who has been impacted by the trauma and violence I've endured. We know that it will be a powerful journey and an important tool for education. Help us reach our goal of raising $15,000 to produce this film! Every little bit helps.
Visit http://www.gofundme.com/AHiddenGeneration to read more about the project and check out the awesome prizes attached to every reward level!
2) Host us in your community’s spaces during our Speaking Tour. As part of our strategy to heighten awareness about the Sixties Scoop and raise funds for the documentary, we are asking universities and community organizations across Canada to sponsor us into their spaces. We want to foster a meaningful dialogue around support systems for Indigenous adoptees, our families, and our communities, on our path towards healing.
3) In-Kind Sponsorship. We would love to hear from anyone who thinks they may be able to provide in-kind support to our project, e.g. providing meals, transportation, accommodations, medicines, equipment and services.
4) Forward this message far and wide within your networks!
For more information or to support this initiative please visit our
Please contact us if you would like to make a donation by cheque.