WINNIPEG – When Melba Sanoffsky’s children were taken from her by child-welfare services in the middle of the night, she didn’t know if she’d ever see them again.
Finally reunited again after years of being apart, she is sharing her family’s story and she’s not the only one.
Thousands of aboriginal children were plucked from their homes and placed with non-aboriginal families during the 1960’s to the 1980’s, now known as the 60’s Scoop.
“When they send your child away from you and stick them in foreign places with strangers and kids and abuse them… when you get that child back that’s not the same child you had,” said Sanoffsky.
Hundreds of Indigenous men and women who were placed in foster care during the scoop are in Winnipeg to talk about the pain from their past.
“Their message is it’s not over. Canada said their sorry for the mass removals of aboriginal children but it’s still going on,” said executive director of the First Nations Child and Caring Society Cindy Blackstock.
The public event called Connecting Our Spirits was put on by the Manitoba Indigenous Adoptees Coalition with the support of the province. The goal is to help survivors heal together.
“This gathering shows that there are others like us, we have people right across the country and North America and overseas that have attended here,” said M.I.A.C. president Skip Gagnon Delaronde.
All of the stories and information shared will be presented by the M.I.A.C. to the government at a fundraising gala this fall. The money will go toward organizing more events aiming to create positive change in the future.