The Adopted First Nations Children of the 1960S are Being Scooped Back.

RE: Canadian Press item: TORONTO – The federal government has agreed to pay hundreds of millions of dollars to survivors of the ’60s Scoop for the harm suffered by Indigenous children who were robbed of their cultural identities by being placed with non-native families.

Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett has announced  a National Settlement with Indigenous Peoples. Included in the settlement is a class action in Ontario seeking redress for generations of our society’s alleged abuse of  indigenous peoples. Evidently, this redress is to be accomplished  by a payout of between $25,000 and $50,000 for each claimant, to a maximum of $750 million. In addition, the Federal government will set aside a further $50 million for a new Indigenous Healing Foundation. Another $75 is to be set aside to pay the plaintiffs’ legal fees. This is all to make  amends for the great  “Ontario Scoop” in which “at-risk on-reserve Indigenous children … were placed in non-Aboriginal homes” from 1965 to 1984 under terms of a federal-provincial agreement.

No one denies that these children were, on account of neglect by parents, at risk  of disease and death where they were born. Now we are asked to imagine that taking them out of that  setting and putting them in “non-aboriginal” homes put them at the greatest risk of all: “loss of identity.”

Now these children, some in their fifties, most of them deeply attached to mothers and fathers who adopted them in good will, brought them into their own families, raised, fed educated and protected from disease, are called upon to step forward and  denounce their parents as virtual Nazis, partners in the crime of racial extermination. Even the title of the programme is meant to be as harmful as possibility to the self esteem of these decent people: they “SCOOPED” their prey, as vultures scoop theirs, from the nests of their mothers.

As in all such cases, there are “advocacy groups” and  layers upon layers of white (non-aboriginal) lawyers who promote the fantasy of mass-cultural extermination, and who (dare I say it) scoop  lavish salaries from taxpayers stunned by guilt.

The crime under review was the rescue of tens of thousands of on-reserve children from probable poverty and disease and illiteracy and to give them loving homes and brothers and sisters and loving grandparents.  Here and there, some of this went wrong – as it does increasingly these days in marriage.  (Today, 4 in ten marriages end in divorce.) But as with marriage in general, the consensus of fair-minded people is that the experience of aboriginal children with adoption has been salutary.

Can any of us who are not in this picture imagine the pain that is being inflicted on these parents, the best of the best of a generation which was not notable for its humanitarianism – the Woodstock generation. These are people who stepped out quietly and volunteered to take on responsibility forever for young souls for whom, as all parties agreed, there was otherwise little statistical probability for decent life and less for long life. Still, we are asked to contemplate a happy, bucolic life – along the lines of Disney’s Pocahontas – the obverse fantasy of a life of profoundest harm, caused by “alienation from their heritage.”

There is double-think in the messages we receive from governments and social workers with respect to the life of First Nations People. One the one hand were are asked to cringe in shame for the suicide rates, the pervasive drug addiction, gasoline and glue-sniffing, the general anomie – all illustrated in  recent t.v. documentaries about life on the reserves. We are told by these same social agencies that this is our fault and must be corrected by pouring more and more millions of dollars into First Nations programmes.

And now we are  pouring yet more large sums of money on the heads of individuals who were rescued from this corner of Hell and, for the most part, given decent and productive lives with adoptive parents. These children of the Great Scoop are now being enticed with five-figure gifts of money to vilify their parents and the society in which they were raised, fed, inoculated against disease and educated.  This is reminiscent of the Soviet regime, which enticed children with privileges into denunciation of their parents for political deviancy.

Heritage is a cuddly word. Who is strong enough to be its enemy? The reality is quite different. What is at issue here is the contempt that our opinion-elites have for the civilization into  which they were born This vilification of civilization works itself out in romanticizing of the Stone Age culture that was in place when the Europeans arrived. We know virtually nothing of its history prior to the 16th century. It was a culture without written record – until we  came along and worked out their written languages. There are insufficient resources in what survives of this culture today to sustain comfortable and decent life to which the adoptees of the 1960s have now become accustomed.

It is dishonorable for our governments to be vilifying the good people who have in the past adopted aboriginal children and doubly dishonorable for us to be enticing  these innocents back onto the path to the Reserve life.

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