By Robbie Madsen

Inside the Sixties Scoop scandal - when adoption really means abduction

First Nations man is still looking for answers to his adoption

The Sixties Scoop is the name given to a number of provincial government programs in the 1950s that saw thousands of autochthone children adopted by families from Canada and the United States.

Eko contributor Robbie Madsen is a Cree originally from northern Alberta. When he was aged four he was adopted by a non-indigenous family. Now 47-years-old, he is looking for answers and posits that some of these adoptions could and should be classified as abductions.

Read the CBC's 2016 article Indigenous children for sale: The money behind the Sixties Scoop and learn about a survivor by the name of Marlene Orgeron. She was told  by her adoptive parents that they bought her for $30 000. Taken from her home in Shoal Lake, Manitoba in the 1970’s, she describes what happened to her as "being ripped away". She was sold for cash to white parents.

 

After reading the article myself, I think it would be good at this point to expand on what Ms. Orgeron is describing when she says "ripped away".

Ripped away. Let's look this idiom in Thefreedictionary.com. It means :"To tear something off or away from something else, especially with intense, violent force." The way Ms. Orgeron describes it is far removed from an adoption and sounds more like an abduction, or a kidnapping, wouldn’t you say? Whatever bullshit the governments and foster-care/adoption agencies give people to try and cover their guilt for this part of history, even some of the parents who bought the children for cash are admitting having done so.

What's more, the fact Ms. Orgeron’s adoptive parents are from Louisiana, and she from Manitoba, shows the active and conscious partnership Canada had with the United States when it came to cash sales of Aboriginal children.

In the article, we read that a former chief of Long Plain First Nation actually saw newspaper ads from U.S. adoption agencies recruiting "Indian" children from Manitoba. Let that sink in. And then read the following from justice.gc.ca:

 

'Trafficking of a person under the age of eighteen years (section 279.011) carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment and a mandatory minimum penalty of 6 years where the offence involved kidnapping, aggravated assault, aggravated sexual assault or death, and a maximum penalty of 14 years and a mandatory penalty of 5 years in all other cases.'

And then there is:

'Receiving a Financial or other Material Benefit for the purpose of committing or facilitating trafficking in persons – child victim (section 279.02(2)) carries a maximum penalty of 14 years imprisonment and a mandatory minimum penalty of 2 years.'

 

My friend was right when he said "Sooo... it’s human trafficking." It sure is, and by what we see in section 279.011, in Canada, offences like these can be punished as seriously as they punish for murder, and will at least carry federal incarceration for anybody convicted of them.

In Ms. Orgeron’s case, the kidnapping part of the trafficking offence happened when she was snatched away from her home in Shoal Lake. And, the "receiving a financial or other material benefit" part of it, happened when she was sold for  $30,000 to her adoptive parents. 

About the author:  Robbie Madsen is a writer, singer/songwriter, and Two-Spirit Cree originally from northern Alberta. The past few years has seen him explore and learn about his Two-Spirit side, about its rich and interesting heritage, and his various roles in the community and what is expected of him. For the past ten years, he has been writing a book called Insanity & Lies – Goodbye, Sixties Scoop. He was recently featured in a Hip-Hop song, Come Home.

Other texts by Robbie Madsen

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