The ‘Sixties Scoop” is the term used to describe Canadian child welfare policies where Indigenous babies, children and youth were ‘adopted out’ of their families, communities and Nations and placed in non-Indigenous households. The Sixties Scoop era began in the 1960’s and ended in the 1980’s — but the majority of children were ‘scooped’ during the first decade the policies were implemented. An estimated 16,000 Indigenous children were taken from their families as a result of Sixties Scoop.
“In many instances, children were literally scooped from their homes and communities without knowledge or consent of families and bands. Many First Nations charged that in many cases where consent was not given, that government authorities and social workers acted under the [colonial] assumption that native people were culturally inferior and unable to adequately provide for the needs of the children.”
-Dr. Raven Sinclair Hidden Generations is a documentary film that follows the journey of a Plains Cree youth Sage Cree who struggles with his identity of being First Nations.
Sage has always contemplated the traumatic impact his Cree Mother Colleen Cardinal experienced and endured over the course of her life, being taken from her Indigenous family and placed into a non-Indigenous household along with her two sisters. The displacement from their traditional territory has had multiple ripple effects; inter-generational ripple effects impacting their entire family.
This journey back to his traditional territory helps him better understand how crucial it is to re-align himself with his history, traditional land, ceremonies, language; key elements missing from his identity as a Plains Cree youth. Sage learns how the Cree language is connected to the land and how the language was created in relation to all things on mother earth.
Sage continues this process of (un)learning, discovery and growth while meeting Elders, adoptees and other youths impacted by the residential schools and the Sixties Scoop.
The film ends back in Ottawa at the Bi-Giwen Indigenous Adoptee Gathering of hundreds of adoptees from across the country. Sage and Colleen join forces with a growing movement of Sixties Scoop adoptees that are mobilizing to seek acknowledgement, advocacy and accountability.
Hidden Generations chronicles what is now known as the Sixties Scoop. At its heart, it’s an insightful coming-of-age, rites-of-passage story of a youth in search of identity. This film is an important part of a growing movement of individuals that have a unified goal of heightening awareness around the said issues while advocating for policy change for Indigenous communities across Canada. On March 27, 2015, Canada’s first case of the Sixties Scoop identity genocide was certified as a class proceeding. The issues highlighted in this film are very timely and relevant. The stories featured in this documentary will be set against the backdrop of the current social, environmental and political struggles faced by Indigenous peoples in Canada.
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