Canadian Native Children

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Canadian Native Children were, as were Native American and Alaskan Native Children, and Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children, routinely rounded up and taken away from their families, either forcibly or by subterfuge. Initially they were sent to boarding schools where their culture was systematically beaten out of them, in an attempt to assimilate them into white society. These schools were largely phased out in the 1960s, but were replaced by putting the children in individual foster and adoptive families. This latter practice is now known as the Sixties Scoop, and was discontinued after about 20 years.

Many families the children were placed in were abusive and racist, and many grew up being told they were of French or Italian extraction, rather than Native Canadian. In addition, about 3,000 were sent south to the USA for adoption, further complicating their attempts to trace their origins. Policy now is to place native children within their extended families, with other Aboriginal families, or with well-prepared white families.


Hertlein, Luke. "Where Are Our Children Going? Should Native Children be Adopted by Non-Native Families?" Available at:
McKiver, Beverley. "Welcome to The Native Adoptee." Available at:
Lyons, Tom. "Stolen Nation." Eye, 6(3) 1999. Available at:
Native Child and Family Services of Toronto; Stevenato and Associates; and Budgell, Janet. Aboriginal Healing & Wellness Strategy Research Project: Repatriation of Aboriginal Families: Issues, Models and a Workplan. Final Report (March 1999). Available at:


Native American and Alaskan Native, Inuit
20th Century
Ethnic or Religious Identity Confused or Concealed, Racism
Formal, American/European-Type Adoption
Pre-school Years
School-age Years, Adolescence
Child Removed from Home by Social Services
Government Policy, Assimilation
Others ("Strangers")
Trans-Racial, Trans-Tribal, International or Trans-Cultural Adoption or Fostering
Tracing Impossible or Birth Family Extinct
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