Connecting Our Spirits Gathering – Winnipeg MB July 24-27th, 2015

Connecting Our Spirits

The Manitoba Indigenous Adoptees Coalition Inc. will host Connecting Our Spirits: A Gathering for Sixties Scoop Manitoba Indigenous Adoptees and People Placed in Foster Care. It will take place from July 24 through 26, 2015 in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

Connecting Our Spirits will be a three-day strategic information and sharing session aimed at understanding the complexities and priorities of Indigenous Child Welfare issues in Manitoba. It will engage approximately 100 Indigenous adoptees and Indigenous people placed in foster care in Manitoba.



The goals of the Gathering are to:

  • Bring together experts to discuss Indigenous Child Welfare issues
  • Create learning, sharing forums and networking opportunities for Manitoba Indigenous adoptees and people placed in care
  • Provide healing supports and activities for adoptees and foster care participants over the course of the Gathering

Viewed as potentially the first of many such Gatherings in the future, MIAC plans to use what is learned to assist the planning of future gatherings. In addition, MIAC will use this information to assist in setting direction and activities in development of its five-year strategic plan.

Expected Outcomes

  • Successful hosting of a provincial Indigenous Gathering for Manitoba Indigenous adoptees and people placed in care
  • Formation of positive relationships with and among Indigenous adoptees and people placed in care
  • Identification of cultural and healing activities geared towards Indigenous adoptees and people placed in care
  • Creation of networks of supports for individuals and new partnerships with outside organizations and other allies
  • A summary report of that includes an evaluation and recommendations to be used to help support future gathering and strategic direction to MIAC

Planned Activities


The first half of the three-day Gathering will be a symposium focused on providing participants with presentations on past and current issues related to Indigenous Child Welfare issues in Manitoba and in other parts of the world, including:

  • A presentation and discussion on the relationship between Canadian Residential School and the Sixties Scoop by Keynote Speaker Honourable Justice Murray Sinclair, Chair, Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada
  • A presentation and discussion on what can be learned from the Canadian Human Rights Commission complaint against Canada: failure to provide equitable and culturally based child welfare services to First Nations children on-reserve and how that relates to the 60’s Scoop, by Cindy Blackstock, PhD, Executive Director, First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada
  • An overview of another country’s experience: Australia and the Stolen Generations, which resulted in the report Bringing Them Home, and the National Sorry Day
  • A presentation by the province of Manitoba on its new open birth records related to adoption

The symposium will be plenary style, and moderated.



To ensure the safety of participants, the second half of the three-day Gathering will be open only to Indigenous adoptees and people placed in care. It will feature facilitated discussions and a sharing circle, including breakout sessions on next steps.

The breakout sessions will be based on the number of participants and facilitators available. Participants will be led through a facilitated process to seek their input on the topics and issues discussed at the Symposium.