Revisiting the Sixties Scoop: Relationality, Kinship and Honouring Indigenous Stories

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Stirrett, Natasha
Sixties Scoop , Indigenous Storytelling , Child Welfare
During the Sixties Scoop, there was a mass apprehension of indigenous children from their families and communities during the 1960’s and 1980’s within Canada. This unprecedented disruption to the fabric of indigenous communities still resonates in the contemporary over- representation of indigenous children within the settler colonial child welfare system. In the field of indigenous studies, there is little research documenting this history and in this thesis I sought to contribute to this existing literature. Drawing upon indigenous and black feminist theories and Foucaudian genealogy I analyze archival materials, memoir and creative texts that explain the Sixties Scoop as part of an ongoing displacement of indigenous peoples. This thesis explores the underlying racist and colonial logics to question the legitimacy of the child welfare system. Coupling this frame, I sought to highlight the significance of relationality and kinship bonds among indigenous and non-indigenous people. The thesis positions the creative writings of Beatrice Mosionier’s novel In Search of April Raintree (1983) and her memoir Come Walk with Me (2009) and my autoethnographic story as narratives that work across as well as outside a colonial frame. Within entangled threads of colonial histories, and through indigenous storytelling we can witness the narrative threads of indigenous peoples surviving displacement and familial separations and practicing cultural continuity. Storytelling allows us to build our communities and envision renewed ways to relate to each other.
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