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Wednesday December 3, 2014



THUNDER BAY: Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) Deputy Grand Chief Goyce Kakegamic
welcomed a decision by the Ontario Superior Court dismissing an appeal by the
Government of Canada that will allow a landmark case on the deprivation of cultural
identity, the Sixties Scoop, to proceed as a class action lawsuit.
For the first time in Western law a court has recognized our First Nations connection to
our culture as a whole, and not as specific Aboriginal land, fishing or hunting interests, and
that our peoples connection to our culture is an interest that cannot be disputed, said
NAN Deputy Grand Chief Goyce Kakegamic, who holds the social services portfolio. This is
the first time a court in the Western world has given this importance to cultural identity
and granted permission for a legal case to proceed where a people were robbed of their
cultural identity.
Between 1965 and 1985 an estimated 16,000 Aboriginal children in Ontario, including
members of NAN First Nations, were removed from their homes and placed in other
(mostly non-native) communities. An entire generation lost its Aboriginal identity and
culture through what is known as the t Sixties Scoop.
Marcia Brown Martel (now Chief of Beaverhouse First Nation) and Robert Commanda
launched a lawsuit in February 2009 against the Attorney General of Canada under the
Class Proceedings Act. Prior to yesterdays decision, two judges had ruled in favour of the
class action proceeding, allowing Chief Brown to be a representative plaintiff for Sixties
Scoop survivors in Ontario.
In the December 2, 2014 unanimous decision the Ontario Superior Court dismissed a
federal appeal of the certification order, allowing the case to proceed as a class action. In
the written decision, Mr. Justice Nordheimer stated that the importance of Aboriginal
rights cannot be disputed and they are specifically recognized and affirmed by Section
35(1) of the Constitution Act and a long line of authorities.

It has been a difficult path to litigation for these courageous plaintiffs and we will continue
to support their efforts to hold the federal government accountable for transgressions that
have permanently scarred countless First Nations, said Kakegamic. It has taken a long
time, but it is a beginning.
A website ( has been established to help First Nations register
and obtain more information on the class action proceedings.
For more information please contact:
Michael Heintzman, Director of Communications Nishnawbe Aski Nation (807) 625-4965 or (807) 621-2790
mobile or by email
Jeffery Wilson Wilson Christen LLP (416) 312-8894 or by email