The Sixies Scoop Series

By: Kevin Power January, 2016

From the early 1960s through late 1980s there was a mass removal of First Nations children from their families into the child welfare system, often without the consent of their families or bands. An estimated 20,000 were “scooped up”, an act that has been referred to by some as cultural genocide. And, sadly the impact continues today.

This has become known as the “sixties scoop”, and when I learned about this part of Canadian history earlier this year, I remember thinking, “how could I have not heard about this until now?” I don’t think I’m alone in that.

Dr. Raven Sinclair    Wayne Smoke-Snellgrove    Lauren Reid    Carol Daniels

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission has brought to the foreground the cruelty of the residential school system. And I’d like to believe that healing has begun. I feel that the “sixties scoop” stories deserve attention as well.

Since creating the SaskScapes podcast series, I am humbled by the honesty of my guests. There have been many laughs along the way. But I wanted to do my part by providing a platform by which some of the survivors of the sixties scoop could share their stories. Clearly I could dedicate years to this topic alone and never hear everyone’s story, but this was a start.

Episodes 57 through 60 feature the stories of Dr. Raven Sinclair, Wayne Smoke-Snellgrove, Lauren Reid and Carol Daniels. There is a "thru-line" in all four of these stories: the need to find cultural identity by connecting with ones family of origin; the ability of the human spirit to triumph over great sadness; and the joy to be found on the other side of that journey. While we all may not have the sixties scoop as part of our story, there are lessons to be found for us all.

A comment from a listener after hearing episode 57 with Dr. Raven Sinclair reads: “This is heart wrenching…A wrong was done. So glad you did survive Raven, to speak, to witness, to inspire. What is really present is your consistent generosity of spirit! This belongs on the school curriculum. Nothing mundane here.” episode 57 was featured on CBC’s national radio program Podcast Playlist, which aired in November 2015.

The SaskScape Podcast Series was originally sponsored by SaskCulture as part of the Culture Days Animateur program.  Listen below to The 60's  Scoop Series: Episode 57 - Dr. Raven Sinclair; Episode 58 - Wayne Smoke Snellgrove; Episode 59 - Carol Daniels; Episode 60 - Lauren Reid.