Marcia Brown is the lead plaintiff in a lawsuit filed by Sixties Scoop survivors in Ontario. Photo by Rob Lackie
Canada | Law

Native mother reunites with children stolen by government in 60s





A Native woman from Manitoba was finally reunited with her children on Friday, decades after they were taken from her by the Canadian government.

In what has come to be known as the Sixties Scoop, the government removed an estimated 20,000 Native children from their homes in the 1960s and placed them in foster care or up for adoption. Six of Lena Woodhouse's children were among those who were taken.

"A social worker came in one day, went through our cupboards, grabbed a few things, wrapped three of us all in his arm and took us away," Lorna Piepers, 52, told CBC News of the day she was taken.

Woodhouse got to see her most of her children together for the first time at the reunion on Friday but one of her sons has yet to be located, CBC reported. She also has a seventh child.

At least two lawsuits have been filed on behalf of children who were taken. One of them -- a class action -- is being heard in Ontario court on Tuesday after numerous delays.

"This case is about Canadian values – past, present and future. In Canada, we expect our governments to respect rights, acknowledge wrongs, change government conduct that gave rise to the injustice and make reparations and ensure wrongdoing is not repeated.," Native leaders wrote in a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, urging him to settle the case. "This is an opportunity for your government to make a statement about what Canada is stands for as it approaches its 150th birthday: a country that respects every person in Canada’s right to live the life they wish to have with all their rights recognized and affirmed."

Indigenous Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett is open to a settlement to the cases, The Globe and Mail reported, but attorneys said the government continues to resist.

Read More on the Story:
Winnipeg family reunites after kids taken in Sixties Scoop (CBC 8/19)
Sixties Scoop survivors’ day in court finally arrives Tuesday (The Toronto Star 8/22)
Manitoban taken during Sixties Scoop returns after 2 decades behind bars in U.S. (CBC 8/22)
SIXTIES SCOOP: THE OTHER HEAD OF THE HYDRA KNOWN AS CULTURAL GENOCIDE (NOW 8/22)
‘60s Scoop aboriginals finally getting court day but 7-year case to drag on (CP 8/21)
Action concerning Sixties Scoop to go before Ontario judge (Canadian Lawyer Magazine 8/19)
Ottawa continuing to fight Ontario lawsuit over Sixties Scoop: lawyer (The Globe and Mail 8/17)

An Open Letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau:
Colleen Hele-Cardinal, Duane Morrisseau-Beck, Isadore Day, Jesse Wente, Phil Fontaine and Cindy Blackstock: Dear Prime Minister: Right the wrong of the ‘Sixties Scoop’ (The Toronto Star 8/17)