"We must separate them from their families": Canadian policies of child apprehension and relocation from Indigenous communities
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Debate has been reignited about whether genocide occurred in Canada. The residential school system has garnered attention as a system of attempted genocide, involving the forcible removal of Indigenous children from their families and communities with the goal of assimilating those children into Anglo-European culture. The residential school system began to wind down in the 1960s, but the introduction of provincial child welfare services on reserves and the migration of many Indigenous families to urban centres led to increased apprehension of children from their families by the state. Most of these children were placed with non-Indigenous foster and adoptive families, often out-of-province and sometimes out-of-country. This period of apprehension and relocation of Indigenous children came to be known as the Sixties Scoop. In this paper, I examine the continuities between the residential school system and the Sixties Scoop era of the child welfare system using a relational genocide framework to analyze attempted group destruction. The main finding of this thesis is that the forcible removal of Indigenous children from one group to another threatened the survival of Indigenous communities and the ability of groups to reproduce themselves according to their own cultural codes.