Just 4 days after our national gathering in Ottawa, our survivors were inundated with interview requests resulting from the class action suit settlement.
Each Survivor is dealing with this news differently and each has his/her own feelings towards not only the dollar amounts but the exclusion of Métis and non-status individuals.
Likewise, our recent gathering forced us to reach inside and face our history and tell our stories. This unpacking of emotion left us feeling vulnerable, fragile and extremely dependant on one another. We became family in that we’ve learned that we are not alone and that sometimes complete strangers can turn out to be all the family that you need.
The news and pressure from the media has caught us raw and unprepared.
‘I was suffocating’
Nina Segalowitz grew up in Montreal with her Jewish father and Filipino mother. But she was born Anne-Marie Thrasher, in Fort Smith, N.W.T.
She said she spent much of her life trying to find a place where she belonged.
The news of the settlement “enraged” her, she said, because she feels as if the government, working with a small group of people, has decided what her experience is worth without consulting her.
“I felt like I was suffocating again. It just bought up all those feelings of being uprooted, again,” she said.
She said the money isn’t what concerns her. What she would have wanted is for survivors to have the option of being reunited with their families for however long they need to be together.
“They’re the ones who took me away, so why shouldn’t they be responsible for [bringing me back]?”
‘Feeling forgotten’: 60’s Scoop survivor speaks out
Thanksgiving weekend is especially difficult for Constance Calderwood. Fifty one years ago, the Métis woman she was taken from her mother at birth and adopted into a non-indigenous family. She was one of 20,000 indigenous children ripped from their homes in the sixties scoop, a practice that lasted decades.
“Days like these is when I wish I had a mom and dad and siblings to all sit around a table with that I don’t have,” Calderwood said holding back tears.
Tealey Normandin and her biological sister Denise Chenel were adopted outside of Kahnawake during the Sixties Scoop. (Courtesy Tealey Normandin)
Normandin is thankful for the network of adoptees she’s met at the 3rd National Bi-Giwen Indigenous Survivors of Child Welfare gathering last month in Ottawa.
“Just being in a room with another adoptee, and knowing that when you’re looking at someone in the eyes, you don’t have to say a word because the feelings that you both share and the experiences,” she said.
“You know you’ve met someone who’s experienced what you’ve experienced about feeling lost, about feeling isolated, about feeling like an outsider living in two worlds.”
“Money never enough,” says 60s Scoop survivors
“Who is eligible, what documents are you going to need? What kind of proof? What kind of hoops are they going to make you jump through?” she said. “I’m here dangling not knowing which way to turn, and at the same time, it’s bringing up a lot of emotions. My stomach has been in a knot since Friday just thinking about this.”
The photo of Nakuset that was used in a catalogue of Indigenous children from the Adopt Indian Metis program. (Courtesy Nakuset)
‘All I wanted was to go home’: What the Sixties Scoop settlement means to Marcia Brown Martel
“As my mother stood, watching her children being taken away, there was an officer there who had a gun, thinking she was going to get shot. So she held back from trying to grab me and save me,” she told As It Happens host Carol Off.
“She thought it would be better that I see her well and standing, than see her be hurt, or be shot.”
Bill Stewart speaks out on CTV Victoria, B.C.
Regina ‘60s Scoop victims share their stories
Born in 1958, Maureen Desjarlais was around seven years old when she learned of the realities of the ‘60s Scoop.
“I was apprehended and taken from my family. My mom, my relatives, my culture, my identity,” she said with tears in her eyes.
“I returned home as a teenager at the age of 16. I didn’t know very much of who I was, as I was placed with a non-Aboriginal family.”
During her nine years in the foster system, Desjarlais was moved between several homes in small towns across Saskatchewan.
Constance Calderwood speaks to CTV Winnipeg.
Montreal Sixties Scoop survivors critical of federal settlement
Survivors question how they will be compensated, whether money was right approach to begin with
Nakuset said she is curious to see how the government will decide exactly how much money each survivor is entitled to.
“If you were beaten every day, do you get more money than those who had a really good family experience? It’s a pretty touchy subject,” she said.
“How do you measure trauma?”
Sixties scoop survivor reacts to settlement
October 6, 2017
CBC News Network Host Suhana Meharchand speaks with sixties scoop survivor Elaine Kicknosway about her reaction to Ottawa reaching a multimillion dollar deal to compensate indigenous victims of the sixties scoop.
Nina Segalowitz was taken from her Fort Smith birth family as part of the Sixties Scoop. She says compensation announced last week by the federal government misses the mark on genuine reconciliation. (Submitted by Nina Segalowitz)
Cash settlement no replacement for stolen time, says Sixties Scoop survivor born in N.W.T.
‘I had no idea who I was until I was 18,’ says Nina Segalowitz, who was born Anne-Marie Thrasher
Nina Segalowitz never met her birth mother, but she’s visited her grave in Yellowknife.
Segalowitz was born Anne-Marie Thrasher, in Fort Smith, N.W.T., to Margaret Thrasher, her Inuvialuit birth mother.
She was taken from her family when she was nine months old and placed with a family in Montreal without, she says, her mother even knowing it was going to happen.
BT Montreal Influencer: Nakuset
Nakuset, Director of the Native Women’s Shelter of Montreal, shares part of her incredible life story with Joanne Vrakas.