Silence to Strength

Edited by Christine Miskonoodinkwe Smith

Silence to Strength
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From the 1960s through the 1980s the Canadian Children's Aid Society engaged in a large-scale program of removing First Nations children from their families and communities and adopting them out to non-Indigenous families. This systemic abduction of untold thousands of children ... Read more


Overview

From the 1960s through the 1980s the Canadian Children's Aid Society engaged in a large-scale program of removing First Nations children from their families and communities and adopting them out to non-Indigenous families. This systemic abduction of untold thousands of children came to be known as the Sixties Scoop. The lasting disruption from the loss of family and culture is only now starting to be spoken of publicly, as are stories of strength and survivance.
In Silence to Strength: Writings and Reflections on the 60s Scoop, editor Christine Miskonoodinkwe Smith gathers together contributions from twenty Sixties Scoop survivors from across the territories of Canada. This anthology includes poems, stories and personal essays from contributors such as Alice McKay, D. B. McLeod, David Montgomery, Doreen Parenteau, Tylor Pennock, Terry Swan, Lisa Wilder, and many more. Courageous writings and reflections that prove there is strength in telling a story, and power in ending the silence of the past.

Christine Miskonoodinkwe Smith

Christine Miskonoodinkwe Smith is a Saulteaux woman from Peguis First Nation. She is an editor, writer and journalist who graduated from the University of Toronto with a specialization in Aboriginal Studies in June 2011 and went on to receive her Master's in Education in Social Justice in June 2017. Her first non-fiction story "Choosing the Path to Healing" appeared in the 2006 anthology Growing Up Girl: An Anthology of Voices from Marginalized Spaces. She has written for the Native Canadian, Anishinabek News, Windspeaker, FNH Magazine, New Tribe Magazine, Muskrat Magazine and the Piker Press. She is also the author of These are the Stories: Memories of a 60s Scoop Survivor (Kegedonce Press, 2021) .

Excerpt

"Surviving" by Anna Croxen
My name is Anna Croxen, and this story is about my life's journey and what survival means to me. It is also describes what life is like for a mixed breed child in Canada. I am a half black and half native woman. I was born in 1957, in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
I was born to a young black woman who struggled with depression, great sadness, overwhelming pain and grief. My father was a Mi'kmaq man born in Truro Nova Scotia, but he became very ill after my mom became pregnant with me. He was placed in a hospital for people suffering from tuberculosis, but he passed away in that horrible place. It was not long after he died, that my mom was alone and also homeless. She was unable to care for herself, so she surrendered herself over to an unwed mother's home. This home was a place where young unmarried women could live until their babies were born.
When my mother went into labour, she was sent to the nearest hospital to give birth. It was there that she was visited by social workers from the province. The Social Services Department had been continuously involved in my mom's life, monitoring her case closely, which continued shortly after she arrived at the unwed mother's facility. It was part of their protocol. She was told by those social workers over and over again that the best thing for her to do after having her baby was to give it up for adoption. They reminded her that she had no way of taking care of a baby by herself. They also told her that giving her baby up meant that she could start her life over again with a clean slate.
My mother was very vulnerable, lonely and confused, so she believed that they were right. Shortly after my premature birth she left me behind in the hospital. I was born two months early and was underweight. It was required that I stay in the hospital until I was of normal birth weight. I stayed in the hospital for two months before I gained enough weight to be released to the Social Services Department.
It was after my mother left the hospital that she quietly found enough money to move away. I never saw her again during my childhood. It became the hospital and social services workers responsibility to take care of my wellbeing.
Before my mother left, she told a few people what she had gone through and relayed that I was in the care of social services at the hospital. Due to her telling other people about this, a member of my father's family went to the hospital and claimed me as their family. This was so the Social Services Department would know there was family before they could legally put me up for adoption.

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