Between 1965 and 1984, Canadian child protection workers removed more than 20,000 Indigenous children from their homes and placed them in foster care or put them up for adoption without the consent of their families or bands.
Almost all of these children were placed with white, middle class families and were effectively stripped of their cultural identities. Many bounced from foster home to foster home, ran away and developed addictions in order to cope. Some of these children were treated like slave labour and/or experienced physical, sexual or emotional abuse. The majority developed emotional problems later in life and had difficulty developing a strong sense of identity in either the Euro-Canadian or their Indigenous cultures.
We are in post-production phase of Giiwe: This is Home, a documentary about the 60's scoop survivor Brent Mitchell, who was removed from his home when he was just a year old and moved to New Zealand with his foster parents when he was five where he endured emotional, physical and sexual abuse. Brent Mitchell’s story clearly illustrates the complete lack of sensitivity, respect and consideration to aboriginal children to their culture and family.
In the summer of 2017, we spent a week in Manitoba with Brent and his wife, Yolanda after they traveled from New Zealand. During that time spent together, we witnessed the connection grow with Brent and his sister, Penny Carberry and brother, Ron Mitchell as well as with his identity and culture.
Giiwe: This is Home was produced, directed, filmed and edited by Merle Robillard and Andrew Lau with the support of Ryerson University's Chang School Film Hub. Featuring Brent Mitchell, Yolanda Julies, Penny Carberry, and Ron Mitchell. Music by Simon Poole.