APTN National News
Following in the footsteps of the minister of Indigenous Affairs, Canada’s Justice Minister says she’s ready to work out a deal with the thousands of Indigenous children who were taken from their homes in what is now commonly called the “60’s Scoop.”
“We’re going to continue to work towards a settlement,” said Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould. “And I was pleased that the minister is taking this on and with the support through my department hopefully we’ll be able to come to a substantial resolution.”
Last week, and again Wednesday during question period in a question from NDP MP Romeo Saganash, Indigenous Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett told the house that the federal government is switching plans.
“Our government today is launching negotiations towards a national resolution to the sixties scoop litigation,” said Bennett. “Several parties have already expressed interest in these discussions. I hope that all parties will participate.”
Canada’s change of heart over how to handle the 60’s scoop $1.3 billion civil suit against the government caught some of the survivors off guard and the minister of justice.
The suit was brought by thousands of Indigenous men and women who were torn from their families and settled in non-Indigenous families.
The announcement from Bennett caught survivors by surprise.
“I was in shock. I felt I want to say betrayed,” said survivor Colleen Cardinal. “Almost betrayed and blind-sided by this because it came out of nowhere.”
The problem some survivors are having is how few details either Bennett or Wilson-Raybould have released about the negotiations.
“It’s a very, very vague announcement,” said Cardinal. “With no follow through, no process, nothing. And I think it’s triggered a lot of people into thinking something’s gonna happen right away or that a settlement is coming. And I don’t think it means any of that. Right now it’s meaningless.”
Cardinal is one of close to 20,000 Indigenous children who were scooped from their families.
Watch Todd Lamirande’s story of Colleen Cardinal and the 60’s Scoop
She was taken when she was two – the process was not a pretty one.
“I asked my mother why did you adopt us, like I wanted to hear something like cause you were pretty or we wanted three girls or something.” Cardinal explained. “Instead I got, well, we picked you out of a catalogue for Native children up for adoption.”
Cardinal has organized rallies on parliament hill for adoptees.
But she has never joined a class action lawsuit.
“But we’re talking about a lifetime of loss, right, of loss and denial,” she explained. “Like I’m 44 years old right…how do you put a number to loss and grief?”
Cardinal doesn’t want what happened to residential school survivors to happen to her.
She wants more input into a possible settlement.
‘The whole process of what happened to survivors really devastated communities. So we’re not wanting to see that again, right. We’re not wanting for adoptees to get a lump sum of money and a meaningless apology,” she said.
It’s not clear how this change in tactic will affect the billion dollar civil suit.