Sharing the story of the Sixties Scoop: Sask. professor, survivor acts as consultant for movie

When Raven Sinclair received a script for a movie about the impact of the Sixties Scoop, she couldn’t put it down.

Raven Sinclair was executive producer, consultant for Trouble In The Garden, screening in Sask. this month

Raven Sinclair was taken from her mother at age four, along with her siblings. (University of Regina)

When Raven Sinclair received a script for a movie about the impact of the Sixties Scoop, she couldn't put it down.

"But I also could see where there were some limitations in terms of her perspective as a non-Indigenous person," said Sinclair, a University of Regina professor and Sixties Scoop survivor, of the script's author, Roz Owen.

"And maybe someone who wasn't as familiar with some of the dynamics, and most of those psychological dynamics that go along with the Scoop and the issues in families."

Observations such as these were the reason Sinclair had been asked by Owen to read her script for the movie, Trouble In the Garden.

As well as providing editing suggestions for the script, she also worked as a consultant and executive producer for the movie.

Dislocation and dispossession

Sinclair, who teaches at the University of Regina's Saskatoon campus, said it was an honour to be involved with the creation of the film.

During the Sixties Scoop, which lasted from the 1950s to the late 1980s, about 20,000 Indigenous children were seized from their birth families and relocated to non-Indigenous homes. The practice stripped children of their language, culture and family ties.

The movie explores the Sixties Scoop from the perspective of an adopted child — named Raven — and also the non-Indigenous family she grows up with.

Sinclair said dislocation and dispossession are among its most significant themes.

"Indigenous identity is often really sort of tied up with the land in many different ways," said Sinclair.  

"When we're removed from it for whatever reason, whether it's land dispossession or being actually removed from adoption or fostering through the child welfare system … that can be pretty significant and have really a huge impact on the people involved."

The filmed opened in Regina on Friday and launches at the Roxy Theatre in Saskatoon on March 8.

Sparking curiosity

Sinclair said she hopes the movie will trigger the public's curiosity to learn more about the Sixties Scoop.

"I guess when I see my name up there I hope that my role has been a good one, that I've done a good job," she said.

"And that other survivors and people involved in the Sixties Scoop and in some way affected by the Sixties Scoop can look at it and say, 'Yeah that reflects a little bit of my experience and I feel more validated because of it.'"

With files from CBC Radio's Saskatchewan Weekend