Whitehorse man caught up in '60s Scoop seeks peace
'I just want my mom to feel a lot better about herself. It's not her fault'
A Kwanlin Dun First Nations man caught up in the so-called '60s Scoop went years without seeing his mother. He reconnected with her as a young adult after returning to Whitehorse, and says he`s now trying to find peace for both of them.
"She took me right under her wing and she took me out in the bush and she taught me everything that I know about life in the bush," David Moroz says.
Moroz and his twin brother were just under a year and a half old when they were seized in the Yukon by government officials in 1968.
They were among up to 20,000 First Nations, Inuit and Metis children adopted or fostered to non-aboriginal homes from the 1960s to the 1980s.
The boys spent years moving around between foster families and were eventually adopted by a white family in British Columbia.
Moroz ran away and then made contact with his Yukon family shortly after his twin brother was found hanging at aged 16.
"It was like losing a limb that you can't ever replace," he says of his brother's death.
Moroz`s mother, Effie Campbell, remembers the reunion.
"First time I seen him come back, I just grabbed him," she says. “I was crying.”
Campbell says she didn't know what she was signing when her twin babies were taken away. Officials at the time noted she had a drinking problem and couldn't care for her children.
"They tricked me," she says. "They never even told me they were going to send away my boys. I didn't know where they were. Nothing."
Moroz says the reunion was an emotional moment for both of them.
"She was really happy. Me too, I was really happy. I was really happy to see my mom," he says.
Adjusting to life in the North was a different story.
"I was like a baby, because I lived with non-native people all my life,” Moroz says.
“I didn't know anything about being a native. And through the graces of this village and most of the people of this village and my family, I've become who I am.”
Slowly the two developed a close relationship.
"I don't know how many years that she kept on taking me out in the bush, taking me everywhere and teaching me everything," Moroz says.
Now Moroz is trying to help his mother get over the pain of that separation.
"I just want my mom to feel a lot better about herself. It's not her fault, what happened, and it's better late than never," he says.
Moroz has spent years documenting his childhood experience by collecting government records. He says it took years for his anger to dissipate.
In the 1970s, the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs requested a moratorium of the adoption of aboriginal children. In Ontario, a class action lawsuit is underway for children taken in the '60s Scoop. It will be heard by the Ontario Divisional Court in November.
Meanwhile, Moroz says for now he's trying find closure for himself and his mother.
"I feel really happy that I'm able to be here with my mom and that's why I'm doing this is to make sure she can have a peaceful rest of her life.”