Superior Court ruling on Sixties Scoop a 'small victory' says First Nations advocate

First Nations activist Amy Smoke, a Mohawk woman living in Kitchener-Waterloo, says after the court ruling about the 1960s "scoop" of children from reserves there needs to be action to support the needed restoration.

Amy Smoke says ruling is a good first step toward restoration

Sixties Scoop survivors and supporters at a demonstration at a Toronto courthouse on Tuesday, August 23, 2016. (Michelle Siu/Canadian Press)

This week, a Superior Court judge ruled that Canada failed its Indigenous children when it allowed them to be forcibly taken from their homes and put into foster care beginning in the 1960s. 

Known as the "Sixties Scoop," about 16,000 thousand Indigenous children were removed from their homes on reserves and placed with non-First Nations families between 1965 and 1984.

"The outcome of living with a non-First Nations family is devastating in the end," Amy Smoke, a Mohawk woman and First Nations activist told The Morning Edition's Craig Norris. "It can follow you around for your  lifetime, not having an identity."

The class action lawsuit was launched in 2009 and sought $1.3 billion for the generations of First Nations children affected by the program.

Ontario Superior Court judge Justice Edward Belobaba ruled Tuesday that the federal government breached its "duty of care" to Indigenous children when it failed to protect their identity and culture.

Smoke, a University of Waterloo social work student says the ruling is only a first step toward the reconciliation promised by the federal government. 

"Resolution does take more than just the words," said Smoke. "Its' more than an apology, it's [the] action behind it."

She hopes that the many First Nations people still living with the effects of the Scoop will now be able heal, reconnect to their culture and tradition, and find their identity. 

The federal government will not appeal the Superior Court's decision.

Listen to the interview with Amy Smoke: