Parenting focus of ’60s Scoop workshop

By Chelsea Kemp

 Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Reawakening spiritual knowledge and teachings that have been passed down for countless generations, the latest session of Healing the Family  Within will help ’60s Scoop survivors learn traditional parenting  skills.

Each Healing the Family Within workshop has been designed to  build off previous classes and help ’60s Scoop survivors, family members  and service workers heal from the trauma created by Indigenous children  being removed from their families and communities, said cultural  support worker Deborah Tacan.

“We’re going to go now into traditional parenting and how our  grandparents, our ancestors parented and some of the profound teachings  and learning why they did some of the things the way they did,” Tacan  said. “When you think about it, there are thousands of years of  parenting that came down and that was interrupted through colonization.”

“Healing the Family Within, Building a Foundation in  Traditional Parenting Teachings” takes place Wednesday from 10:30 a.m.  to 3 p.m. at the Mahkaday Ginew Memorial Centre in Brandon.

The session  will include information on traditional parenting, carrying another  spirit, the sacredness of children, hands-on activities and time to  share. Participants will also talk about the history of the ’60s Scoop  and its effects while highlighting the strengths of survivors.

“We bring all of that and we talk about the teachings that are  still within us and we are waking them up. We are waking them up because  they are sleeping as a result of everything,” Tacan said.

“All of a  sudden, we start hearing the positive things, we start seeing the  positive things and we choose to start to change stereotypes.”

The ’60s Scoop was the forced adoptions of Indigenous children in Canada as part of a process of assimilation. It is estimated between  20,000 and 40,000 First Nation, Metis and Inuit children were removed  from their families and communities and adopted out into non-Indigenous  households during this period. The adoptions spread to children across  the world including Australia, Europe, New Zealand and the United  States, along with Canada.

Survivors of the ’60s Scoop are now adults trying to unite with  their birth families and communities _ a part of this journey is  looking for an identity and to understand where they belong.

Healing the Family Within is part of healing from the  disruptions of residential schools, the ’60s Scoop, the reserve pass  system and other forms of trauma that have affected Indigenous families  and communities, Tacan said.

These interruptions broke the cycle of traditional Indigenous  parenting and have left a lasting historical trauma in communities.

Survivors need validation, Tacan said, validation of the hurt,  losses and grief they experienced, along with recognition of the  strengths and wisdom they still carry.

The goal of Healing the Family Within is to bring those  teachings back, this includes talking about the sacredness of life,  sharing sacred creation stories and celebrating the place of children as  Wankazi, “the little sacred ones.”

Indigenous people want to bring back these practices and  teachings as part of the healing process from the ’60s Scoop, she added,  breaking the damaging cycle of colonization.

“Colonization is not over, we know that. It’s still continuing on today,” Tacan said.

It is a challenging situation because many grandparents and  parents are survivors of residential schools or the ’60s Scoop and never  had the opportunity to grow up in a loving home and community.

It has created a challenging situation because for many, they  were taken away as children old enough to remember their real homes, but  after spending time away never felt like they could fit in again, Tacan  said.

“That bonding and attachment are not there. So they come back  and they start raising families and they don’t have those parenting  skills,” Tacan said.“

Through the process of colonization Indigenous youth were  pushed to embrace western perspectives and values that looked down on  teachings that had been treated as sacred for countless generations, she  said.

Speaking as a ’60s Scoop survivor, Tacan said, she needs that  foundation to understand what parenting is, what her children need,  understanding the stages of development because she was not taught this  growing up.

’60s Scoop survivors were sent to homes that in many cases were  non-Indigenous and learned the basics of family life through western  perspectives. This led to a painful loss and separation from their  Indigenous culture and communities.

These traumas have been internalized and led to negative  stereotypes that need to be unpacked to help change survivors’  worldviews.

Teaching traditional parenting helps survivors come back to  their culture, she said, while reaffirming their Indigenous identity and  place in the community.

“We all have our idea and our thoughts about a family and we’re  healing that family that we carry within the side of ourselves. We  carry hurt, we carry wounds because of a result of what happened to our  families,” Tacan said. “We’re helping them to know their identity, to  know who they are because a lot of them feel lost.”

 Chelsea Kemp  is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of the BRANDON SUN. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada. Turtle Island News does not receive LJI government funding.



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