'I don't have anything': Saskatoon man taken during Sixties Scoop searching for his identity
Saskatoon man Niall Schofield is among the thousands of Indigenous children taken from their families during the Sixties Scoop.
Like so many others, Schofield was put up for adoption through the Adopt Indian Metis Program.
“I don’t have language, I don’t have culture, I don’t have anything and that’s what I am searching for right now,” said Niall Schofield, sixties scoop survivor.
He spent six months in foster care before he was officially adopted.
“My mother always told me I was adopted. She always said that she was grateful and how cute I was in in the adoption ward. She still makes me cry today when she tells the story,” said Schofield.
The Sixties Scoop took place roughly between 1961 to the 1980s.
“Thousands of Indigenous children were scooped, literally scooped from their communities, scooped from their Metis communities, and also scooped from their families and extended families,” said Dr. Jacqueline Maurice, CEO of the Sixties Scoop Healing Foundation.
Schofield and his siblings were separated across Canada.
“All the siblings were separated and it was by design that we would never find each other,” said Schofield.
Growing up, Schofield says he would always get pointed out when out in public with his family.
“The stigma around being a brown kid in a white family at the time always confused me. I was always confused on why they were asking if I was their son or not,” said Schofield.
The comments left him feeling like something was missing. Schofield eventually decided to begin searching for his family. A step Schofield says is bittersweet.
“I’m very grateful to have been able to be brought up in the way I did but I’m also very sad in the sense that I have never got to experience all the beauty of the Indigenous natures,” said Schofield
For Jacqueline Maurice, her survival story is not as bittersweet.
“Someone like myself who was scooped from Meadow Lake Union Hospital, I was not registered for adoption and as a result of that oversight, I was in and out of foster care,” said Maurice.
Maurice believes the effects of the Sixties Scoop still lingers today.
“There’s the argument that we now have a Millennium Scoop. If we look at the rates in Saskatchewan, still very high at least 81 per cent of Indigenous children are still in the care of the system,” said Maurice.
She says there is still a lot of work to be done but the right steps are being taken to make those changes happen.