A new map is showing the displacement of Sixties Scoop survivors across provinces and beyond Canada’s borders.

The project, called ‘In our Own Words – Mapping the 60s Scoop Survivors Diaspora,’ uses an interactive system to represent the displacement.

It also includes a search tool for any survivors looking for family members or who still want to be found, as well as an option for people to share their own stories.

Colleen Hele-Cardinal, director and co-founder of the Sixties Scoop Network, said she started the idea for the project in 2014 with a drawing and a vision to represent the displacement of the survivors.

She wanted to show people what the Sixties Scoop looked like on a global scale.

“A lot of people don’t know that we were taken out of the country and across provinces and displaced from our traditional territories and land,” she said.

Hele-Cardinal added she wanted to take on this project because there’s nothing else like it that’s currently available.

She said she thought it would “striking” for people to see.

“It just shows how devastating it was for those families and for those communities to have so many children taken away during the Sixties Scoop,” she said.

HELE-CARDINAL’S STORY

This map was of particular importance to Hele-Cardinal, a Sixties Scoop survivor herself.

“My sisters and I were adopted from, well we’re originally from Saddle Lake Cree Nation in Alberta, we were born in Edmonton,” she said.

“My family is residential school survivors. We were taken at a very young age, we went to a few foster homes and then we were taken from Alberta and were adopted and raised in Ontario.”

Hele-Cardinal said they didn’t know they were Indigenous until their teenage years.

“By then we were ready to flee our home. We ended up fleeing a very abusive, violent home and headed back to Alberta to find our family,” she said.

Hele-Cardinal didn’t learn about the Sixties Scoop until she was in her late 20s.

“I think a lot of people, a lot of Canadians, North Americans should know more about it,” she said.

“They need to know more about it and this is a conversation starter.”

When people see the map, Hele-Cardinal hopes they gain a better understanding of the complexity of Indigenous issues.

She noted these issues, such as loss of culture, grief, and anger, are all interconnected.

“It’s interconnected to missing and murdered Indigenous women,” Hele-Cardinal said.

“A lot of Sixties Scoop survivors fled home at very young ages, were on the streets trying to survive, and ended up in violent situations. A lot of Sixties Scoop survivors ended up incarcerated because of experiences they’ve had in foster homes and so on. It’s so interconnected.”

She said with this project, she wants to start conversations and change the dialogue.

“I want Canadians to start unlearning the stereotypes they have around Indigenous people.”