Marilyn LeFrank

An estimated 20,000 native children were removed from their homes during the '60s Scoop, says Marilyn LeFrank, director of child and family Services for the Mi'kmaq Confederacy of P.E.I. (Mi'kmaq Confederacy of P.E.I.)

The so-called '60s Scoop, in which thousands of native children were removed from their homes, is expected to receive much-needed attention this week, says the director of the Child and Family Services program for the Mi'kmaq Confederacy of P.E.I.

It's estimated 20,000 native children across Canada were taken by provincial officials, after the provinces assumed responsibility for child protection services from the federal government in the 1960s, says Marilyn LeFrank.

Children continued to be removed from their homes through the 1970s and as late as the 1980s.

"Children were taken from their homes and adopted, many of them, in non-aboriginal homes, many of them in the United States, without parent consent and without a lot of paperwork in some occasions," said LeFrank.

"So children who left their home at a very young age were raised in homes, where people didn't recognize or acknowledge or promote their cultural identity."

The topic will be highlighted when aboriginal leaders meet with the premiers Wednesday, a day before the annual premiers' conference in Charlottetown. Three months ago, a plan was established to call for compensation and help reconciling families.

LeFrank isn't sure how many Island native children were removed, although she does know of families trying to reconnect with relatives. Only some have been successful.