Native Grandmother Lina Desmoulin addresses the state of Dilico - the Native branch of the Children’s Aid Society in Thunder Bay, Ontario. As one of the founders of Dilico, Lina implores the Chiefs of Ontario to “back up” and relook at “the monster” this organization has become. The situation Lina describes is referred to as “The Millennium Scoop” – thousands of children taken from Native homes and placed into non-Native adoptive, foster and group homes, where they lose a sense of identity, community and culture. Lina claims that non-Native homes are easily approved by the agency while Native homes are not (moreso for cultural reasons than what it takes to love and raise a child). She feels that Native homes should be given the opportunity to raise their own community’s children, and be financially supported to do so – the way non-Native homes are. Ultimately, Native children should go to Native homes, Native homes should be more easily approved for fostering, and homes that foster (or grandparents who raise their grandchildren) should be financially compensated (just like non-Native homes presently are). Lina also points out that young children are needlessly put on drugs like Ritalin because both the agency and the foster homes recieve more money for a child who is drugged, than a child who is not. She feels the drugs are an incentive to make more money, and unnecessary for the children in a community that is already plagued by drug addiction.
Over 70% of all children in the care of the Children’s Aid Societies of Ontario are Native children.
(Lina’s story is included in the documentary, “Powerful as God – The Children’s Aid Societies of Ontario)
[00:00:17.27] I was one of the ones who first started the process of Dilico – long time ago, too.
[00:00:24.17] Because there was so many of our kids – our own Native children being adopted out. We wanted our own child welfare system.
[00:00:36.04] Not this big monster they’ve created! But we wanted our own to take care of them. We wanted, but it didn’t work out that way.
[00:00:52.15] I don’t like to speak ill will against the Northern – the Chiefs of Ontario, but they thought it was a good idea too. But little did they know, little did they know what a big monster they’ve created.
[00:01:11.28] Dilico into everything. You go and take a picture of their building and how many sub-offices they got.
[00:01:33.20] And you go and ask them how many homes they’ve got that are Native? They pass – what’s that review when they become foster parents – really fast.
[00:01:50.01] And I’m not – I’m just guessing – I’ll bet 75 to 95 percent of these homes are non-Native. You know? Why can’t Native people do that? Have that same opportunity?
[00:02:10.22] I see women closer to my age still hanging on to babies. They’ll have babies because they get paid more. And they’ll also have kids on Ritalin – I was told that by an ex-worker.
[00:02:23.03] The more pills they’re on, the higher their pay is.
[00:02:32.28] They’ve got – how can one mother trust to go for treatment when it’s run by Dilico? They’ve taken over our treatment centre that was for Native community members to take – it’s being run by Dilico now.
[00:02:50.18] Mental health, that’s all taken care of by Dilico. They’ve got doctors now! They’ve got nurses – I don’t know how many nurses they got.
[00:03:03.29] It’s one, great, big, big organization that Dilico.
[00:03:24.16] They’ve become unionized. How can we fight with people that are unionized? When they have a big union backing them up.
[00:03:36.26] I don’t know if I’m making sense, but it’s pretty awful.
[00:03:44.01] The Chiefs of Ontario gotta back up and say, “Stop taking our kids and putting our kids in those non-Native homes! Stop putting those kids on medication! They don’t need it!”
[00:03:55.06] You know what? There’s so much drugs and alcohol in our communities already. Why they want to put the kids in conflict with having – being on Ritalin? They don’t need that!
[00:04:08.11] It’s almost just like the boarding school syndrome. It’s gonna be the same thing. Do we have to wait fifty years before they do something again?
[00:04:26.18] Yes! Dilico’s got a big bunch of fancy smudge bowls. But are they giving it to the kids? No. It’s just their own. They’re trying to teach their non-Native people to be Native.
[00:04:45.07] I feel really bad for Dilico the way it is. They’ve gotta start having grandmothers on their board of directors. Grandmothers will know what being kids is all about.
[00:05:00.00] We don’t need all this big fancy stuff they got! You know – Native people are humble people. We’ve always had to struggle with what we have. We’ve never had anything fancy.
[00:05:12.25] Government’s spending I don’t know how many thousands of dollars on this big building. I’m sure Dilico Children’s Aid doesn’t have that big of a deficit as our agency has.
[00:05:32.10] I’m getting angrier and angrier just talking about it. I don’t like feeling that way. But I want what’s best for our Native kids.
[00:05:45.09] They don’t need to be shoved into non-Native homes and be deprived of their Nativeness.
[00:05:53.18] I know one of the homes my grandchildren were placed in. The woman’s an alcoholic. She would hide downstairs. And the kids are upstairs. What difference does it make an alcoholic foster parent as opposed to my alcohol daughter? No difference.
[00:06:20.01] I’m sorry. I don’t know if I could go on. It’s just a very very ugly story.