THUNDER BAY – “The Sixties Scoop saw many First Nation youth removed from their home communities and raised without any sense of their heritage or cultural identity,” said NAN Deputy Grand Chief Goyce Kakegamic, who holds the social services portfolio. “This was a continuation of the assimilation policies inflicted upon First Nations through the Residential School system and is a very significant case for NAN First Nations.”
Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) Deputy Grand Chief Goyce Kakegamic will show support for a landmark class action lawsuit on the loss of cultural identity known as the “Sixties Scoop” at a rally and legal proceedings in Toronto this week.
Between 1965 and 1985 an estimated 16,000 Aboriginal children in Ontario, including members of NAN First Nations, were removed from their homes and placed in other (mostly non-native) communities across Canada and the United States. An entire generation lost its Aboriginal identity and culture, states NAN in a media statement.
In 2009, Marcia Brown, now Chief of Beaverhouse First Nation, and Robert Commanda launched a lawsuit against the Attorney General of Canada. In May 2010 a judge conditionally granted a motion to certify the action as a class action proceeding. That decision was appealed, and the Superior Court of Justice ruled in December 2011 that conditional certification should not have been granted and awarded court costs of $25,000 against the plaintiffs.
The Court of Appeal granted the plaintiffs leave to appeal the Superior Court’s 2011 decision and will hear arguments on the interpretation of a judge’s role under Ontario’s Class Proceedings Act and the awarding of court costs.
A support rally and unity walk will be held Wednesday at Queen’s Park at 1 p.m. The appeal will be heard Thursday at the Ontario Court of Appeal, 130 Queen Street West, at 10:30 a.m.
“The Sixties Scoop permanently scarred many First Nations through the loss of their heritage and cultural identify,” said Deputy Grand Chief Kakegamic. “I am pleased to support efforts to pursue litigation to hold the Government of Canada accountable for this devastating legacy.”
A website www.sixtiesscoopclaim.ca has been established to help First Nations register and obtain more information on the class action proceedings.