Life is not only not fair, it is too often downright despicable.
The CBC offers poignant truth today in the telling of the story of three sisters, victims of the Sixties Scoop in Canada, in which Canada’s Indigenous, Metis and Inuit children were taken, often separated, then placed in foster homes or given to white families through adoption from the late ’50s to the ’80s.
An estimated 11,000 children were taken, according to the CBC.
Women who asked for help, were having their children stolen instead.
Most never saw their real family members again.
“One night, there was a knock on the door. Nakuset and I were alone in the house. I kind of opened the door… and apparently some police came in and took us away,” Sonya Murray said in a 2016 interview.
The children lived in an abusive home. Sonya “took a lot of beatings” for her sisters.
“I have a bit of survivor’s guilt because her experience was so bad,” Nakuset told the CBC.
Nakuset — Sonya’s sister — and Sonya stayed in a foster home for a short period, then they were separated. Sonya was the oldest; she was 5.
“One morning I woke up and I looked in the bed over from me and it was all made up, and [Nakuset] was gone,” she said.
“Sonya made it her mission to try to find both of us, and she’s really the one that keeps us all together,” Nakuset said in the 2016 radio interview during which they were reunited.
Sonya had found her youngest sister, Rose Mary; she was living in Austria.
“I think about how hard that must have been for her to be the only Cree in a country, you know, where there’s no one else who looks like her,” she said.
A happy ending? If only.
In August, Nakuset got a video from Sonya. She was telling her sister why she was going to take her own life, Nakuset wrote in a first-person essay for the CBC.
And she asked me to share her story, so that people would know how the Sixties Scoop affected us — as she put it, “they took you away from me.”
I thought the idea was ludicrous. I just wanted to her to live, to be my sister and protector. She always had my back.
In a panic, I messaged her children and asked that they check up on her.
Finally, Sonya wrote back. I was so relieved. We spent the next two days writing about solutions, plans, strategies.
On Monday night, she wrote “I love you.”
I wrote back “I love you too.” I almost wrote, “don’t do anything stupid.” But I didn’t want to make her feel isolated.
Four-and-a-half hours later, I was informed that she had killed herself.
On Tuesday, the CBC released a documentary on the three.
Recently, a class action lawsuit resulted in a settlement for the victims of the Sixties Scoop. It’s not entirely clear yet who will be eligible. A claimant must have been adopted or made a permanent ward of the state.
Many of those possibly eligible are being forced to get in contact with adoptive families from which many are estranged, the CBC reports, stirring up long-suppressed memories.