awâsisak ka kiwehtahîcik

Bringing Home the Kids

The destructive processes of colonization and assimilation of First Nations and Métis people in Canada has not come to an end rather, like a chameleon, these forms of oppression simply change their appearance and continue on.

From the tragedy of Residential Schools, to the ravages of the Sixties Scoop, to the incremental devastation of family and community by the bureaucratic process of putting children “in-care”, the cumulative negative impacts of contact with Western society remain.

In 2006, in a northern Alberta (Canada) First Nations community of 8000 people, approximately 150 children were “in-care” and living two hours away in a large urban centre with minimal contact with their home community. Community-based Children’s Services (wahkohtowin) decided it was time to “Bring Home the Kids’ – and staged an event designed to reconnect these children to their community. While it was acknowledged that a single event will not solve the problem of the number of children taken into care, it was felt that this opportunity to reconnect would help with the issues of anxious and disrupted attachment that many of the children (and the community) were experiencing – and would also help to increase community awareness of the number of children who are in care. Perhaps it would eventually lead to repatriation. It was a place to continue the process of healing. This is the story of that event.