Survivor seeks stories of the Sixties Scoop for new anthology

Jacqueline Maurice wants to help others tell their stories

August 10, 2017

Sixties Scoop survivors and supporters gather for a demonstration at a Toronto courthouse last year. Scores of Indigenous people from across Ontario rallied in Toronto ahead of a landmark court hearing on the so-called '60s Scoop. (CP file photo)

Jacqueline Maurice's book The Lost Children: A Nation's Shame chronicles her struggle as a victim of the Sixties Scoop, the practice of removing Indigenous children from their families.

"Up until the age of 14, I went through 14 moves myself, experienced various losses, traumas and abuses," Maurice said in an interview with CBC Radio's Saskatoon Morning.

Maurice is now gathering the stories of others who were taken from their homes and put up for adoption with non-Indigenous families, or with the child welfare system, a practice that went on for decades in Canada.

Jacqueline Maurice, who wrote a book about her own struggles after being caught up in the Sixties Scoop, wants to help other survivors tell their stories in a new anthology.

"I believe people are looking for a venue, if you will, to safely tell their story and to not only give voice but also to talk about how they are in the process of reconciliation as well as healing," she said.

Maurice will work with co-contributor Richard Rothenburger to pore over people's submissions, searching for eight to 10 survival stories to be included in a new book First Voice: Stories from the '60s Scoop Survivor and Warriors.

Rothenburger is not a Sixties Scoop survivor, but he is no stranger to Canada's child-welfare system, having spent time in many foster homes as a teenager.    

"It allows me again to share my voice and the voice of other young people that have experienced the child-welfare system," Rothenburger said. "I want survivors to know that their voice is important."

Book meant to foster healing

Rothenburger and Maurice hope the stories they select for this anthology will do more than just capture the suffering of being forcefully removed from family and cast away into a heartless child-welfare system, or to be raised as non-Indigenous with no ties to tradition and culture.

Maurice wants the stories to answer an important question: "What teachings would I like to bring forth to the next generation and to those who are just beginning their healing journey?"

The two are looking for submissions now, but Maurice promised they will proceed carefully because they do not want the experience of retelling their stories to be an emotional trigger for survivors.  

with files from Saskatoon Morning
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