Robert Kasparek was adopted as part of the ’60s Scoop by an American family.
A Mohawk man born in Canada but sent to the United States during the ’60s Scoop is worried people like him will miss out on compensation being offered by the national settlement agreement.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if there are scoopers around the world,” said Robert Kasparek from his home in Los Angeles, CA.
“And they don’t know they’re Indigenous.”
There is no official tally of how many Indigenous children were adopted inside or outside Canada during the so-called ‘60s Scoop due to privacy reasons.
The Canadian government estimates 22,000 Indigenous children – First Nation, Métis, Inuit and non-status – were affected and raised by non-Indigenous families.
Nor is there an organization that speaks for those affected by the adoption program – only informal groups on social media that adoptees can join.
So Kasparek, who was raised by American parents in New York, is trying to connect with people like him via Facebook.
“I don’t know how many people like me there are but we should definitely qualify for compensation,” he said in a telephone interview.
Adoptees can apply for compensation by filling out a form available here until the end of August 2019 https://www.sixtiesscoopsettlement.info/
Doug Lennox, a lawyer with one of the firms in the class-action, said the settlement is only being advertised in Canada.
The promotion is being handled by Collectiva, a firm contracted by Ottawa.
He said it’s up to organizations, communities and individuals to help spread the word to eligible adoptees.
“There is advertising on TV and radio and websites. And there’s been some community outreach.”
But this class-action doesn’t have a mailing list of class members due to privacy protections around adoption, Lennox added.
“We asked (for this) and the government doesn’t have a list with mailing addresses of everyone who was scooped. In a case like this, it’s up to people to come forward and say, ‘I was scooped.’”
“It’s painful for some people to say they were part of this. They may not want to get involved.”
Others may not know they were adopted through this program or be aware of their Indigenous roots, added Kasparek.
“I grew up in Brooklyn and then moved to Connecticut. I had a very white upbringing.”
Adoptees can expect to receive between $20,000 and $50,000 each but forfeit their right to sue Canada for other damages.
The money comes from a $750-million compensation fund. An additional $50 million will establish a foundation and $75 million will cover lawyers’ fees.
Métis and non-status Indigenous children were also part of the program but are not included in this settlement agreement.