Siblings Penny Carberry, Brent Mitchell and Ron Mitchell embrace just minutes after meeting for the first time after all being adopted out during the Sixties Scoop. (Jillian Taylor/ CBC) Brent Mitchell says he immediately recognized his brother and sister when he walked through the international arrivals gate at the Winnipeg airport, even though he had never seen them before.
"Family is family. We’re blood," said Mitchell, who was sent to live with a foster family in New Zealand when he was five years old.
Mitchell is a product of the Sixties Scoop, the name given to the Canadian government’s practice from the 1960s to 1980s of removing #Indigenous children from their homes and placing them in foster care or putting them up for adoption. Brent Mitchell was sent to live with a foster family in New Zealand when he was five years old. (Lyza Sale/ CBC) "I’ve always held on to my Canadian passport all the time I have been in New Zealand," said the 59-year-old. "I have never wanted to be a New Zealand citizen because it just means more to me where I come from, my roots."
Mitchell said growing up was tough — his foster family never adopted him and he hasn’t spoken to them since he was a teenager.
He said he learned about his Indigenous heritage while living in a group home for "naughty children," as he describes it.
"That is when I demanded — I was 15 — to come back to Canada," he said. "They said I had no family in Canada to come back to."
But that didn’t discourage him. In 1997, he asked the New Zealand government for his foster care files. That’s where he found the names and birthdates of his siblings — six of them, to be exact.
But it took almost 20 years for […]
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