A bit more history
An estimated 20,000 Indigenous children were taken from their families and communities through assimilationist child welfare programs and placed in non-Indigenous households throughout Canada, the United States, and overseas. As an extension of the Indian Residential School System, the Children’s Aid Society aggressively pursued the removal and adoption of children into non-Indigenous households. These non-Indigenous households were led to believe that the children were unwanted and needed “good family homes”. Indigenous parents had no recourse, and their children grew up fragmented from their culture, tradition, language, families and communities.
Many adoptees felt isolated in their adoptive households and communities, while a staggering amount suffered tremendous physical, emotional, sexual, and spiritual abuse. These experiences erased much of their connection to the land and their Indigenous identity. Indigenous adoptees have faced barriers connecting with their heritage, including being unable to find their birth families or nations because of sealed adoption records. Although some adoptees have reconnected with their Indigenous families, many have found it difficult to reintegrate into their birth families and communities.
A Hidden Generation seeks to spark a national dialogue for Indigenous and non-Indigenous people who may not otherwise be informed on how forced Canadian child welfare policies have impacted thousands of Indigenous peoples’ lives.
In mainstream Canadian society there is still little education or light being shed on the unjust policies that laid the foundation of the treaty-making process upon which Canada was built and continues to exist. Most Canadians are aware of the residential schools, but have no idea about the on-going intergenerational disconnect, fragmentation of family and associated trauma still being experienced by Indigenous people living in urban and rural communities.
Our goal is to expose and address the assimilative child welfare policies that effectively sought to erase Indigenous peoples’ connections to the land by denying language, ceremony and cultural traditions.
This film is a means of raising the level of understanding in Indigenous communities that are still impacted and in need of closure, healing and accountability.