Important Update Re: Jan 30 Media Advisory

Canada concedes that consulting Indigenous leaders could have prevented harm, but still argues “no accountability” for Sixties Scoop suffering

January 31, 2017

The Thursday hearing in the trial to determine Canada’s liability for harm endured by Sixties Scoop survivors has been cancelled at the last minute at the Crown’s request. On January 30th, the Department of Justice stated it has no new evidence and no intention of cross-examining the plaintiff’s witnesses. The evidence presented by the plaintiff has been accepted and therefore no trial is necessary.

The hearing, scheduled for February 2, was to focus on the question of what advice Indigenous leaders would have given to mitigate harm experienced by Sixties Scoop survivors. The Government has presented no evidence that it fulfilled its duty to consult with Indigenous leaders in implementing child welfare programs on reserve. Further, it has argued that even if Canada had consulted, this would not have mitigated harm suffered by Sixties Scoop survivors.

Affidavits submitted by former Chief, Wilmer Nadjiwon (Chippewas Nawash First Nations) and Howard Jones, former Band Councillor (Chippewas Nawash First Nations) outline a  list of recommendations they would have offered to the Government to help protect children’s cultural identities.  These included:

  • Placing the children in close geographic proximity to the bands to facilitate continued cultural connection;
  • Allowing bands to offer support and cultural education to white foster and adoptive parents; and
  • Allowing bands to offer children continued cultural interactions in order to expose them to their traditional languages and practices.

The Government of Canada maintains that it cannot be held responsible for the harm suffered by individual Sixties Scoop Survivors. The Crown will submit legal arguments in writing by noon on Thursday.  Judge Belobaba is expected to issue his decision on the government’s liability by the end of February; a precise date is expected next week.

Quotes:

“It is clear from the Government’s request that it has found no evidence to dispute the conclusion that consultation would have made a difference for these children. The government had the power to protect their cultural identity and it chose not to. Yet it continues to excuse itself from any responsibility for the harm those children suffered.”Jeffrey Wilson, lead attorney for the Claimants
“This was my last chance, before I die, to fight for our lost children and to help them get the justice they deserve. Our voices have gone unheard for too long.”Chief Wilmer Nadjiwon

The argument that consulting wouldn’t have made a difference was ridiculous from the outset. And I don’t blame the government for not wanting to cross-examine a 95-year-old Chief on such a ludicrous question. But is this about optics or justice? Because if it is about justice, the real question is why the government refuses to right the wrongs of the past. How can we move forward if we cannot heal?” – Marcia Brown Martel, lead claimant and Chief, Beaverhouse First Nation

Interviews
For media inquiries please call Jessie at 416-859-8250.

Mini-hearing not proceeding on February 2nd in Toronto

Canada’s lawyers announce they will not be cross-examining the former Chief and Councillor, and that they have no further archival documents to challenge the Plaintiff’s case, even though they said differently before, and thus, the mini-hearing is not required.

Wisdom from our elders. Lineage, ancestral wisdom of truth beyond that of colonial government archives.

Thank you former Chief Wilmer Nadjiwon and former Band Councillor Howard Jones of the Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nations.

Written submissions are to be made this week and judge will subsequently announce date for release of decision. We will post date of decision as soon as we are advised.

– Ontario Sixties Scoop Steering Committee

The latest on the mini-hearing:

Thursday, February 2nd, 10:00 a.m.
Courtroom 4-2 at the Court House 361 University Avenue, Toronto

Canada demands opportunity to cross-examine 95-year-old former Chief Wilmer Nadjiwon of the Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nations. The former Chief is so frail that he will be cross-examined via video-conferencing from the Cape Croker Lands.

Canada apparently wants to challenge what the former Honourable Chief remembers as advice or ideas the Band would have given to the federal Crown if it had done what it said it would do and consulted with his Nation before implementing provincial child welfare law. Also testifying will be former Band Councillor Howard Jones, of the Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nations.

Come early to pass through security and get a seat.

– Ontario Sixties Scoop Steering Committee

Mini-hearing: February 2, 2017

Update: hearing will be held in courtroom 4-2 at 361 University Ave.

To view the invitation in PDF, click here.

Honourary Invitation

The Ontario Sixties Scoop Steering Committee cordially invites you to join Chief Marcia Martel (Brown) of the Beaverhouse First Nation, and former Chief Wilmer Nadjiwon and former Band Councillor Howard Jones, both of the Chippewas Nawash First Nation, as they pay homage to the law of Canada at the final day of the summary judgment hearing before the Honourable Justice Edward Belobaba of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice.

Brown v Canada, now in its 8th year of court litigation, is the only case on the matter of an historic anomaly to do with an alleged 16,000 culturally displaced children and the only case of its kind to have been certified as a class proceeding. It is also the first and only case in the western law world to raise an issue about a democratic state and whether what it did raises questions about the cultural genocide of its First Nations’ peoples. Canada’s counsel has argued in Court, after all, that whatever duty the federal Crown had to its First Nations, it did not ever include the protection of their cultural identity.

Reception follows the hearing on Thursday, February 2nd, 2017 which is to commence at 10:00 a.m. at 361 University Avenue in Toronto. Guests are urged to come early to pass through security and secure a seat. The day will bring about live evidence, testimony of each of former Chief Nadjiwon and Band Councillor, Howard Jones. Chief Nadjiwon is 95 years old. His daughter very much worries about his health and her father’s decision to give evidence. We are honoured with his presence and that of former Band Councillor, Howard Jones.

If you would like to receive a copy of the affidavit which is their evidence, click here for that of Chief Nadjiwon and here for that of Howard Jones, or send us a request at thesixtiesscoopclaim@gmail.com.

As the lawyer said in Court on August 23, 2016, and said it in our language, we must make sure this does not ever happen again to any people’s children.

Meegwetch

Ontario Sixties Scoop Steering Committee

Judge directs mini-hearing

The Honourable Justice Edward Belobaba of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice has ordered there to be a “mini-trial” with representative Plaintiff Marcia Brown to present oral evidence “on the following narrow issue”:

If Canada had consulted with Indian Bands (as per s. 2(2) of the 1965 Agreement) what ideas or advice would have been provided that could have prevented the Indian children who had been removed and placed in non-Aboriginal foster or adoptive homes from losing their Aboriginal identity?

The date of the hearing has not been fixed, but the Judge has indicated that it should take place the second half of January or early February and that His Honour’s decision on the summary judgment motion will follow soon thereafter.

If you wish to read the Judge’s decision about the mini-hearing, click here.

If you intend on coming to the mini-hearing, click here.

This is an opportunity to tell Canada, whose lawyers say our country owes no obligation whatsoever to protect the cultural identity of its First Nations peoples, what it could have done if it cared to listen and if its purpose was other than assimilation, if not extermination, of aboriginal identity.

We will post the date of the mini-hearing as soon as it is known.

If you would like to receive a copy of a season’s greeting letter we recently sent to the Honourable Prime Minister and other persons concerned about human rights, click here.

If you want an electronic image of the poster that we sent to the Honourable Prime Minister, click here.

Stay tuned.

Meegwetch

Ontario Sixties Scoop Steering Committee