Dr. Raven Sinclair will be featured at the in-person Truth & Justice Speaker Series event taking place on the Castlegar Campus on April 7. A professor of social work at the University of Regina, she will present on “Dislocation and Disruption: Reconciling the forced removal of children during the Sixties Scoop.”

One of the leading voices on the trauma caused by Canada’s forced removal of Indigenous children during the Sixties Scoop will spend a thought-provoking evening at the Selkirk College Castlegar Campus on April 7.

Dr. Raven Sinclair is Cree/Assiniboine, Saulteaux and Métis from George Gordon First Nation in Treaty 4, Saskatchewan. A professor of social work at the University of Regina, she is an author, filmmaker, researcher and public speaker. A survivor of the Sixties Scoop, Sinclair will present her own experiences and academic work to illustrate the turmoil of Indigenous child removal from family, community and culture.

“Dr. Sinclair brings together her own personal journey with the years she has spent researching and speaking about this scarring chapter of Canada’s history,” says Leah Lychowyd, Selkirk College’s Indigenous Student Counsellor and one of the organizers of the Truth & Justice Speaker Series. “Gaining more understanding of how this period continues to impact so many Indigenous people across the country helps us piece together how we can move forward on the calls to action for Truth and Reconciliation.”

When she was a child, Sinclair was living with her widowed mother in Saskatoon in a home that included her aunt and cousins. She was forcibly removed and adopted by a non-Indigenous family that eventually moved to West Germany. By the time she returned to Canada and began attending the University of Toronto, Sinclair had been completely disconnected from her culture. Her journey to gain back what was lost and understand why this happened to so many Indigenous children, frames her career as an educator and academic.

Starting in the early-1950s and lasting until the 1980s, the Canadian government systematically removed Indigenous children from their families as part of the forced assimilation of cultures and communities. The interpersonal and intergenerational trauma caused by the government’s harsh attack continues to ripple through today’s Canada. 

To provide a deeper understanding of the consequences of the Sixties Scoop, Sinclair maintains that issues of homelessness, substance abuse, incarceration and mental health struggles are a persistent outcome. With the interruption of the transmission of traditional knowledge and language, Sinclair asserts that the best intervention is a strengthening of culture.    

“This is an opportunity to spend an evening listening and understanding,” says Lychowyd. “Dr. Sinclair presents in a way that is impactful and hopeful. She will leave people with plenty to think about and provide us all a way to strive for a better tomorrow.”

Open to the entire community, the Truth & Justice Speaker Series is presented by Selkirk College Indigenous Services and the Mir Centre for Peace. The event will be held in-person on the Castlegar Campus in Sentinel 113 on April 7 starting at 7 pm. Tickets are $15 for adults, $12 for seniors and free for Selkirk College students and all those self-identifying as Indigenous. Alternatively, attendees may join via Zoom with tickets costing $10 for adults/seniors. To purchase tickets and get more information, go to: https://selkirk.ca/event/raven-sinclair

Selkirk College