Friday, October 6, 2017

Canada to Pay Millions in Indigenous Lawsuit Over Forced Adoptions

OTTAWA. The Canadian government said Friday that it will pay 750 million Canadian dollars for the settlement of indigenous peoples' claims that since the mid-1960s, and two decades after that were taken out of their communities, social workers and sent to the Non-Aligned foster families or adopted white families.

Many of the children were in the United States, and some even away from Europe and New Zealand. It is unclear how many children were affected; estimates are up to 30,000.

Although the settlement does not fully resolve all claims related to the government's adoption program is a step in an ambitious, if not the implementation of the Program of Prime Minister Dzhastina Tryudo, about how to avoid injustice against indigenous peoples in Canada.

"I do not know what people are thinking about," said Caroline Bennet, the minister of coronation relations, who announced the settlement in Ottawa on Friday morning.


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"I do not know why anyone - she continued, - why the settlers and the government thought they could do better than a village, what responsibility of superiors to make sure that everyone in the community healthy."

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Head Marsia Braun Martel from the First Nation Beyverhauza near Kirkland Lake, Ontario, lead plaintiff in the framework of group action, which was one of the cases that are settled on Friday, said that she hopes that this settlement will lead to further reform the social security systems of children.

"I have great hope that since we have reached this plateau, it will never happen again in Canada," said Chief Brown Martel in his statement.

In 1967 or 1968, when she was only 4 or 5 years old, Ms. Brown Martel and her sister were placed in the foster family by the children's social workers. It was repeatedly taken out of its reserve, perhaps 10 times, until 1972, when it was taken by an unloved family in South Ontario.

Usually known as the "Forty sixties" - because children were "scooped out" from their communities - the adoption program as a whole received less attention than the school system.

As part of the school program that began in the 19th century, indigenous children were placed in schools away from their homes to destroy local cultures and languages.

In 2008, the government of the Conservatives at the government apologized for the residential program in the framework of the settlement of the class action, which also included the payment of $ 1.6 billion Canadian dollars to the survivors of the system. The settlement created a National Truth and Reconciliation Commission that prepared a long list of recommendations, most of which Mr. Trudeau promised to implement.

In 1985, the adoption program was heavily criticized in a 1985 report by the Government of Manitoba. Two years ago, Manitoba became the first province to apologize for her role in the program.


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The action of the class in Ontario, which said that the government failed to fulfill its obligations to the indigenous peoples in the program, was delayed for eight years before a decision was made in favor of the plaintiffs in February.

If this is approved by the court, the settlement announced on Friday will be decided by this case and some others. The Government continues to negotiate with the plaintiffs in other cases, which, unlike the Ontario case, are also linked to the provinces and include allegations that the plaintiffs were abused by foster or adoptive families.

The government is also developing amounts for individual settlements and formulating official apologies. The announcement, announced on Friday, will include 50 million Canadian dollars for a fund to educate adopted children about their native languages ​​and cultures.

In an earlier judgment in the case Judge Edward P. Belobaba the Superior Court of Ontario program called adoption "well-intentioned but deeply ignorant" and found that it had a profound impact on children throughout their lives.

"There is also no dispute that much harm was done," he wrote in his decision in February. The "crossed out" children lost contact with their families. They lost their aboriginal language, culture and identity. Neither children nor their adoptive or adoptive parents were provided with information about the aboriginal heritage of children or about the various educational and other benefits that they were entitled to receive. The retired children disappeared "with a barely visible trace."

The program was, in some way, the successor of the school system, which folded in the 1960s.

While the federal government was responsible for the welfare of indigenous children - what is a provincial commitment when it comes to all other children - it did not have a single plan for providing such services. So, in 1965, he began to give provinces

Government officials, at least at the planning stages, made efforts to ensure that the new system was not destroyed.

When the program was adopted, the provinces were told that they should be managed and delivered. In Ontario, Judge Belobaba ruled that there never was.


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The result was a cultural clash.

Evidence presented during the hearing in Ontario in 2010 showed that "in indigenous communities there is no concept of adoption or guardianship, since all children are considered community responsibility."

At the same time, social workers, without any training in the field of indigenous life or culture, came to Aboriginal communities and dismissed children from situations in which, as established by the court, they were not ignored or endangered. The arrangements were simply different from how life was built in white Canada.

Non-native families, in which children fell, ranged from insulting to loving and caring. But rarely they brought up children in their origin. Some children were told that their parents were Spanish or Italian.

The government kept a special register of children who were taken, the court said, but never contacted the children. It seems that very few people have done it.

Although this was not the goal of the program, Judge Belobaba wrote that she might have a stronger method of assimilation than the school system.

"Residential schools detained children for 10 months of the year, but at least the children stayed in one of their peers, they always knew their first nation of origin and who they were, and they knew that they would be at home, often forever.

The program ended in Ontario in 1984, when the province changed it, that they should be in their communities when possible.

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