Todd Coon and his sister Patsy were “scooped” by child welfare authorities when they were just toddlers in the wake of a 1966 Winnipeg house fire. Coon’s father could made only one request — that his children be adopted together.
The pair were shuffled through foster homes over two years before they were adopted by a family in Ontario. For Coon, it was far from a happy childhood. “I seemed to be bullied because of my skin colour. I didn’t know why,” says Coon, now 53.
Coon was 11 before he understood that he was Indigenous and learned much later he was part of the “Sixties scoop” generation. Between the 1960s and 1980s, thousands of Indigenous children were adopted by white families. Like Coon, many found themselves with a foot in both cultures, but feeling alienated by both.
He will be among the 75 scoop survivors gathering in Ottawa this week from as far away as New Zealand, an event organized by National Indigenous Survivors of Child Welfare. In a way, it is a reunion of people who may not know each other, but who share the same scars.
READ: ‘I thought I was alone’: Sixties scoop survivors gather in Ottawa | Ottawa Citizen