On May 30, 2018, Hiawatha First Nation hosted a community event where the Kawartha-Haliburton Children’s Aid Society acknowledged and apologized for the harmful role that their organization has played historically, in the lives of children, families and communities.
Beginning in the late 1950’s and continuing through to the 1980s and beyond, thousands of children across Canada were removed by child welfare agencies from the care of their families and Indigenous communities and placed in non-Indigenous foster and adoptive homes across the world. While some adoptive families did their best to love and care for the Indigenous children, what is now commonly referred to as the 60’s Scoop, is recognized as a practice of forced cultural assimilation. The Kawartha-Haliburton Children’s Aid Society recognizes that our greatest accountabilities for our actions are to Indigenous families and First Nation communities to whom we serve.
Children are the cornerstone of community and culture, and the over-representation of Indigenous children in care has interfered, disrupted and traumatized generations of Indigenous families. Board President Rod Sutherland stated, “I extend our sincere apologies to the children, parents and grandparents who have been separated by and experienced harm from the colonialized practices from the Kawartha-Haliburton Children’s Aid Society.”
Executive Director Jennifer Wilson acknowledged that Intergenerational trauma from abuse, neglect and cultural assimilation practices of Residential School systems left many parents and families ill-equipped to manage relationships and to parent in meaningful ways. “We apologize that we did not, as an organization, mobilize to support, understand and recognize the impact of inter-generational trauma”, stated Jennifer Wilson, “nor your rights as Indigenous people to protect your land, your treaties and most especially your children.”
Following the acknowledgement and apology, community members were invited to respond. “This acknowledgment is a first step for our children, families and communities of reconciliation from KHCAS”, stated Chief Laurie Carr. “A next step is the continued support of KHCAS as we move forward into servicing our own families through our Indigenous agency, Dnaagdawenmag Binnoojiiyag Child & Family Services. It is vital to all our children, families, and communities that our First Nations take back jurisdiction of all our children.”
KHCAS has a long path towards Reconciliation and healing of theses historic injustices. Today, we take responsibility, acknowledge the harm of past practice and undertake to set a path forward mobilized by the good will and intentions of child welfare practitioners, to ensure that our actions and those of our organization align with the true meaning of Reconciliation.
For additional information contact: Lynn Clark, Executive Assistant – KHCAS
705 743 9751 or 800-661-2843, ext. 1298.