Child Apprehension in Canada
Indigenous child apprehension and assimilation can be defined as carefully planned programming by church and state with the common goal of eradicating Indigenous cultures.
Child apprehension programs include, but are not limited to:
- Residential Schools (children as young as 3 and up),
- 'Sixties Scoop' apprehension of Indigenous newborns, toddlers, young children and adolescents to be mainstreamed into the foster care system where they are raised as non-Indigenous Canadians. In most cases apprehension was justified by biased assessments of inadequate parenting and grandparenting, cramped living environments, etc., and was carefully structured to completely disconnect the child from any memory of their parents. In most cases, infants were apprehended at birth in hospitals and the mothers were told the infant had died - many new mothers were then sterilized to prevent further pregnancies. In other cases, infants were taken from their cradles, their yards and communities and driven to the city for adoption. Our Indigenous children were relocated around the country and the world; specifically to the U.S.A, England and New Zealand. This effort is still strong in 2021 and Indigenous communities/nations are advocating to run their own child welfare offices instead of having children removed and taken to large cities where there is a greater risk of being permanently disconnected from their family and community.
- Incarceration (non-conforming students, teens and young adults),
- AIM Program (Adopt an Indian or Métis), newspaper ads selling children to Canadians as healthy, strong and compliant ‘helpers’ for your housework or farm work. This program functioned alongside the 'Sixties Scoop' effort and survivors recount many situations where they and other Indigenous children became farm labourers and domestic help.
Consequences: Devastating interruption of womens capacity to nurture. Displaced Indigenous children suffer from identity failure and lack of belonging.
Child apprehension programs resulted in the destruction of relationships between:
- Indigenous people and government,
- Indigenous people and church,
- Indigenous people and schools,
- Indigenous people and law enforcement,
- Indigenous people and the entire Canadian population,
- Indigenous people and their own communities and families.
In most cases, Canada’s Indigenous people carry pain, anger and a deep sense of sadness resulting from the forceable removal of our children. It is rooted in our bellies and has festered for more than a hundred years. We often feed grief to our children - unintentionally, unknowingly.
Many of our families are in eternal states of sadness, and suffer from a tragic sense of inequality.
Women and their capacity for nurturing and protecting family has been devastatingly interrupted.