When Inez became a flight attendant, she didn’t realize that she was looking for a sense of belonging. Taken from her mother as part of the Sixties Scoop, Inez lost connection with her heritage for many years. It wasn’t until she had an opportunity to open an Indigenous restaurant that she reconnected with her Nuxalk roots and became a leader in Vancouver’s Indigenous community. Inez’s determination inspires Cameron, one of her oldest friends.
About this video: Nuxalk Nation and the Sixties Scoop
The Nuxalk Nation is located in and around Bella Coola, BC. There are seven Nuxalk reserves, which cover 2,025 hectares, only 0.1% of the Nuxalk ancestral territory. This land has never been given up or won, and the legal ownership of the land has never been established.
The Nuxalk assert sovereignty over their lands and have two forms of government: traditional Hereditary Chieftainships and elected Chief and Council, a system imposed by the Canadian government. Potlatch was the traditional way the Nuxalk established laws and recognized significant events. Though banned for over 60 years, from 1885 to 1951, the system continued to be practiced and is still an important part of traditions today.
From the 1960s to 1980s, provincial governments across the country took Indigenous children from their families as an ill-conceived method of child welfare management. No parental consent was required, and band councils were not required to be notified. These children were usually placed with white-settler families with little attention paid to their backgrounds or cultures and resulted in immense cultural loss and family trauma. This practice became known as the Sixties Scoop.
In 1985, The Kinelman Report listed 109 recommendations for policy changes and concluded that “cultural genocide has taken place in a systemic and routine manner.”
A class-action lawsuit of Sixties Scoop survivors was launched in 2009 against the Canadian government (of which Inez was a part) and on February 14, 2017, the Ontario Superior Court ruled in favour of victims. To “begin to right the wrongs” of the past, an agreement in principle was reached between claimants and the Canadian government in October 2017 that includes money for a healing fund.
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