SUMMER SOLSTICE 2023 STORY FROM THE NATIONAL SIXTIES SCOOP HEALING FOUNDATION
Greetings Survivors, Descendants, and extended community members,
A Story Representative of the Sixties Scoop...
Sarah (*not her real name, this is a fictionalized compilation based on the stories of many survivors) put the pot on to boil for Labrador tea. She lit a braid of sweetgrass and smudged, carefully extinguishing the sacred flame. As she swept the kitchen floor, Sarah began humming softly to herself. She had good plans for a kids' day out tomorrow. The children had all drifted off to sleep in the next room. The baby looked like a little angel in the traditional swing hammock that she had rigged over her bed. Her mother had taught her this way of keeping the smallest child close and safe. It was early evening, and Sarah always took a moment to enjoy this still and peaceful time. There was a sudden pounding at the door. Baby Lawrence began to cry, and she swept him up in her arms as she called out, “Who’s there?”
“The RCMP. Open up.”
Heart pounding, she opened the door. Three uniformed police officers were standing there with a severe-looking white woman. The policemen had their hands on their gun holsters. The social worker was brandishing a clipboard. They pushed their way in without asking for permission. They had come to take all five children. Alexis, age 10; Henry, age eight; Mary, who was nearly six; David, just turned three; and her baby, Lawrence. Sarah was calm at first: “There must be some mistake.” The social worker showed her the papers on the clipboard. "These are for the apprehension. Do you understand?" Sarah asked if she could call someone, and the biggest officer said, "Who you going to call? The police?” The officers laughed. The social worker headed into the bedroom.
Sarah could feel panic, and an overwhelming protective instinct, a need to preserve the safety of her children, surging up inside her. But the power and paperwork and guns also made her feel helpless, and she began to cry, saying “Please, no. Why?” They didn't bother to answer her. Instead, the social worker was pulling the children out of their beds. The officers stopped Sarah at the bedroom door. The kids were all in their pyjamas. David was clutching his teddy and reaching for his mother as the social worker snatched him up. The older children, crying and confused, found themselves being herded out their bedroom and toward the front door. The last thing the kids saw of their mother was her hopeless and desperate struggle against the tall heavy-set police officer holding their mother back from protecting her children or even being able to hold them one last time as the children were ushered out into the police car.
None of the children had been allowed a good-bye hug. The last thing the kids heard of their mother as they pressed their damp faces against the car windows was the haunting and blood curdling screams of the intolerable pain of losing her children forever while simultaneously begging with the authorities, “NO, PLEASE GOD NO!”
As the officials drove away with the family that was her life, the remaining policeman kept a grip on Sarah's arms that would leave lingering bruises. “I didn’t even get to say goodbye,” Sarah sobbed, as the heavyset officer finally released her arms. He wiped his hands on his flanks and stomped out the door without a word. Sarah followed him to his car, begging him to tell her where they were being taken. She stood in the path of the car so he couldn't drive away. He rolled down the window and said, "It's confidential. It's none of your business. It's out of my hands. Now get out of the way!" He gunned the engine, and Sarah stepped aside.
She would never see any of her children again, in a lifetime shortened by despair and loneliness, guilt and shame, fear and trauma.
Sarah spent years trying to get answers. Social Services officially allowed no contact and no information. Clues occasionally surfaced. Sarah managed to dig up the fact that her oldest daughter had been lost by the system three years in, a runaway never found. Her son, eight years old at the time of his removal, had been tossed from foster home to foster home before being sent to the United States for an adoption. Little Mary had been sent to Europe, and David had been shipped out to New Zealand. Her baby, Lawrence, was still in Canada somewhere, though they would never say where. He doubtless had few memories of his home, or of his extended family on the reserve.
Sarah, a mother without children, would die early and destitute, in a despair of addiction. She had never touched drugs or even alcohol until her children were taken from her. She received no help. After all, her destruction was part of the plan. You can't allow the real mothers to survive, if your plan is to break up families and break down communities.
Alexis, David, Henry, Mary, and Lawrence were kept separate all their lives. They suffered nightmares, separation anxiety, PTSD and all the other consequences of collective and individual trauma. Each child struggled to remember their real home life, their real siblings, their real mother’s eyes and face, their true extended family. Vague and fast-fading memories surfaced as each child grew up. These fragments of their Indigenous language, of moments of togetherness were like pieces floating away from an overturned canoe. Growing up, each tried not to drown in a system designed to erase their ties to their family of origin, language, culture and community. Each child struggled for a lifetime not to break down spiritually, emotionally and mentally.
Both mother and children would spend the rest of their lives searching crowds and photographs for familiar faces their entire lives, ask the government for answers they could not get, buried in files locked away. The ever-present understanding by all children stolen from their families was that they longed for home, for the comfort of their moms and dads and sisters and brothers.
Every day of their lives they would always feel the emptiness of what once was that special love and belonging. Every day these stolen children would feel in their soul that where they ended up after removal was not where they belonged. All these children would struggle their entire lives to get back home and get back to the familiar embrace of their moms and dads and their communities of origin, however they would also deeply despair that reunification would not happen in this lifetime...
The Facts Behind the Sixties Scoop
Below you will see Wayne Garnons-Williams Current Acting CEO advertised for adoption as a child and a photo of his mother at the approximate age her child was taken.