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Newsletter Vol. #97 Thats How I See It!

I hope you found the Special Edition (Thursday) on CAREGIVING Interesting and helpful.

More on The 60s' Scoop

In order to form an opinion on the advisability of making an apology and offering compensation, it is necessary to understand what happened in The 60s' Scoop.

In the 1960s, provincial child welfare workers entered Indian reserves for the first time with a mandate to protect children who were considered to be neglected or in danger. Until that time the federal government had often used residential schools as a place for children from inadequate homes. Many reserves had, in fact, been ravaged by alcohol abuse and in too many cases, alcohol abusing parents were not providing adequate parental care for their children. With the phasing out of residential schools, new arrangements to help and protect these children had to be made, and the federal government made the arrangement with their provincial counterparts that required provincial social workers to assume childcare responsibility.

The philosophy at the time was to encourage adoption. Then, as now, there were very few indigenous couples willing to adopt, and the childcare workers turned to non-Indigenous couples - first in Canada, then in the United States.

Some of these adoptions broke down. The federal government has now accepted that the cause of the breakdowns was a loss of culture, but the reality is more complicated. In many cases the apprehended children suffered from Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD), and that was indeed a cause of many of the adoption failures. Be that as it may, the adoption of Indigenous children by non-Indigenous people is now considered to be something that should not have happened. Thankfully, the practice was discontinued by the 1970s and the adoption of Indigenous children by anyone is now largely an historical issue.

If the federal and provincial governments had not acted to protect neglected children, it is certain that they would have faced lawsuits for failure to honour their commitments to Indigenous children. There probably would have been wrongful death lawsuits as well. With hindsight, it can be seen that both levels of government made mistakes. But, it is also clear that they had a fiduciary responsibility to these neglected children and they had to act.

That is what is called The 60s' Scoop.

But what is less well known is that the "Scoop" never stopped. In fact, there are more Indigenous children in care now than during the height of the 60s' Scoop. Manitoba, for instance, has over 10,000 Indigenous children in care. That represents an almost 100% increase since 1985. Those children have been "scooped" by child welfare workers that have an honest belief that a failure to apprehend would place the children's well being in jeopardy. But now, Indigenous childcare workers operate under the same sense of duty to the children as did the non-Indigenous social workers of yesterday.

The date 1985 is significant because around that time Indigenous child welfare agencies began assuming control of Indigenous child welfare services in most provinces. Indigenous advocates promised that if Indigenous philosophy and Indigenous workers and agencies were in control of child welfare responsibilities, the number of Indigenous children in care would be drastically reduced. The governments were desperate to find a way to deal with the continuing flow of neglected Indigenous children who were swamping their child welfare systems, and irresponsibly accepted this plan even though there was no evidence to support it.

The plan failed. The flow of neglected children who had to be apprehended continued-and then accelerated. Today, the situation is worse than it was at the time of the 60s' scoop.

The only difference is that adoption by non-Indigenous parents is no longer an option for these children. Non-Indigenous couples are not allowed to adopt, and Indigenous couples very seldom adopt. Most of the Indigenous children who are apprehended in Manitoba are placed in non-Indigenous foster homes.

And, are the Indigenous "Survivors" of the child welfare system of today any better off than were the children in the 1960s? The answer is "no".

It is a sad fact that most of the survivors of today's system do not do well. Too many turn 18, leave their foster homes, and have a dismal future as adults. A life of dependence on the street, or in jail, is all too often the case. It is not at all clear if these people who were apprehended as children are any better off than if they had simply been left in their inadequate homes.

So, the Alberta government, as well as the federal government, might have set a very expensive precedent. If they decide to pay large amounts to survivors of the 60s' Scoop, they might be committing themselves to pay similar amounts to the children who were "scooped" in every decade after the 1960s.

Other provincial governments should be following what Alberta decides to do very carefully. It is certain that many lawyers are watching what is going on.
                                        Brian Giesbrecht-Frontier Centre For Public Policy

Stella Award

For those unfamiliar with these awards, they are named after 81-year-old Stella Liebeck who spilled hot coffee on herself and successfully sued the McDonald's in New Mexico, where she purchased the coffee. You remember, she took the lid off the coffee and put it between her knees while she was driving.

These are awards for the most outlandish lawsuits and verdicts in the U.S. You know, the kinds of cases that make you scratch your head.  So keep your head catcher handy.
Here are the top four "Stella's" for 2015:

Jerry Williams, of Little Rock, Arkansas, garnered 4th Place in the Stella's when he was awarded $14,500 plus medical expenses after being bitten on the butt by his next door neighbour's beagle - even though the beagle was on a chain in its owner's fenced yard.  Williams did not get as much as he asked for because the jury believed the beagle might have been provoked at the time of the butt bite because Williams had climbed over the fence into the yard and repeatedly shot the dog with a pellet gun.
Pick a new spot to scratch; you're getting a bald spot.
Amber Carson of Lancaster, Pennsylvania because a jury ordered a Philadelphia restaurant to pay her $113,500 after she slipped on a spilled soft drink and broke her tailbone. The reason the soft drink was on the floor: Ms. Carson had thrown it at her boyfriend 30 seconds earlier during an argument.
Only two more, so ease up on the scratching...

Kara Walton, of Claymont, Delaware sued the owner of a nightclub in a nearby city because she fell from the bathroom window to the floor, knocking out her two front teeth. Even though Ms. Walton was trying to sneak through the ladies room window to avoid paying the $3.50 cover charge, the jury said the night club had to pay her $12,000... oh, yeah, plus dental expenses. Go figure.
Ok. Here we go!!
* FIRST PLACE * ~ absolutely brilliant!
This year's runaway First Place Stella Award winner was: Mrs. Merv Grazinski, of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, who purchased a new 32-foot Winnebago motor home. On her first trip home, from an OU football game, having driven on to the freeway, she set the cruise control at 70 mph and calmly left the driver's seat to go to the back of the Winnebago to make herself sandwich. Not surprisingly, the motor home left the freeway, crashed and over turned. Also not surprisingly, Mrs. Grazinski sued Winnebago for not putting in the owner's manual that she couldn't actually leave the driver's seat while the cruise control was set. The Oklahoma jury awarded her, ** ARE YOU SITTING DOWN?
**   $1,750,000 PLUS a new motor home. ** Winnebago actually changed their manuals as a result of this suit, just in case Mrs. Grazinski has any relatives who might also buy a motor home.

Reader Response
Hi Dan.
Wow!!! Another wonderful book by Dr. Dan. What a gift!!! You pretty well cover the whole gamut/spectrum of living; and you do it so well!!!
The only thing I missed was a section on FORGIVENESS; which I see as applying in all areas of life; - perhaps the topic for another whole book?
I'd say you did a masterful job on this one and wish you much joy and fulfillment as you continue your journey.
Thanks, Dan! Be well, be blest, and know you are loved for being the very one you are, and are becoming.                                                           Jake

The Woman Marine Pilot 
The teacher gave her fifth grade class an assignment: Get their parents to tell them a story with a moral at the end of it.
The next day, the kids came back and, one by one, began to tell their stories. 
 There were all the regular types of stuff: spilled milk and pennies saved. But then the teacher realized, much to her dismay that only Janie was left. 
'Janie, do you have a story to share?' 
 ''Yes ma'am. My daddy told me a story about my Mommy. She was a Marine pilot in Desert Storm, and her plane got hit. She had to bail out over enemy territory, and all she had was a flask of whiskey, a pistol, and a survival knife. 
She drank the whiskey on the way down so the bottle wouldn't break, and then her parachute landed her right in the middle of 20 Iraqi troops. She shot 15 of them with the pistol, until she ran out of bullets, killed four more with the knife, till the blade broke, and then she killed the last Iraqi with her bare hands.
''Good Heavens,' said the horrified teacher. 'What did your Daddy tell you was the moral to this horrible story?
"Don't mess with Mommy when she's been drinking".

I thought I would give you a few weeks off from my adventurous Cayman Island trip---the few weeks are up.

Three wonderful weeks in the Caymans; Brad and Suzanne's hospitality was truly wonderful, but it was now time to head home. I am always sad to leave the Cayman Islands, as it has been the place where my son and I have connected over the last 22 years. Suzanne and her energy and enthusiasm now add to the sadness of leaving this island which I refer to as my second home. However, I am always glad to come home to my wife, daughter, grandkids, friends and my real life. What's different about this time is that Brad is coming with me because of a friend's tragedy.

10:30 in the morning and we're at the new Cayman airport. The lineup was unbelievable. It took an hour and a half to get our bags checked. When Brad went back and asked if he could get an aisle seat he was rewarded, but in the process, the agent mysteriously tore up his ticket from Toronto to Winnipeg. (This will become significant about 1:30 a.m. the following morning while trying to get through security in the Toronto airport to catch our Winnipeg connection).

The 4-1/2 hour flight to Toronto was fine but then we noticed we were circling and circling and circling the Toronto airport. We couldn't land. The airport had been hit with an ice storm and they hadn't cleared the snow and ice off the runway. So, we were off to Montréal where we sat on the tarmac for two hours. Finally some people began to leave and we surmised, because no one had told us anything, that they were destined for Montréal eventually anyway. We then sat for another hour, but the pilots were "fatigued", so we had to wait for a new crew. We eventually flew back to Toronto and it was about 12:30 a.m. when we landed.

We grabbed our luggage and headed for the Connecting Flight area. We were not too tired or too hungry at this point. (Thought I'd add a little sarcasm!) We were told, "No more flights are heading west", so we turned around and went back in to the terminal. We had no flight - it left hours ago, or so we thought - we couldn't get to our gate to rebook anyway because Brad didn't have a boarding pass, (remember it got torn up by the Cayman ticket agent), and we couldn't get through security without a boarding pass. How you say it- we're screwed!

In the terminal, we looked for the Air Canada ticket kiosks and agents only to find that Air Canada had sent home all but two of their ticket agents and they were located at the other end of the terminal. 5 to 10 planes had just landed. All of us had missed our connecting flights and needed help. About a 1000 to 1500 people had to be rebooked and the ticket agents had gone home. It was pure bedlam and we decided to get out of there.

I am thankful for Brad and his use of technology to quickly find a hotel only 30 minutes from the airport. We booked it and went looking for a taxi. It was absolutely freezing in Toronto and the lineup for cabs was at least a football field long without one cab in sight. "This is nuts" and Brad made the suggestion that we rent a car to get us to our hotel. We proceeded to the car rental area where for the first time in the last 15 hours we were not cramped or standing in line. We rented a small car from Budget for a mere $50 (considerably less than we would have paid for a two-way taxi ride) and were on our way - certainly many hours ahead of those in the cab line.

Our room at the Holiday Inn Express was great but at 2:30 a.m., we didn't notice that our room did not have pull-across the window curtains. No blinds and no curtains to keep out the light- I was up at 6:10 a.m. feeling like I had just drunk a whole bottle of rum. I guess I could have drunk a whole bottle of rum as we had brought back six bottles of my nephew's Seven Fathoms rum (only original rum distillery on Cayman Island).

Around 7 a.m., Brad managed to reach Air Canada, hoping to book us a flight home. After dozing for over an hour, an Air Canada representative told us she had no flights for us that day. She suggested we try another airline and we booked with West Jet at 3:30 that afternoon. Our concern was still with the weather as it was snowing outside our window which we could see very clearly because there were still no blinds or drapes to block our site line. This was getting to be a very expensive ride home.

Our 3:30 flight left almost on time- 5:30 and we were on our way finally. What was the universe was trying to tell me/us? I chose to ignore whatever the message was and just be thankful we would soon be home.

Drinda, Lisa and grandkids were there to meet us, and seeing them, suddenly all was well in my universe.

Have a great week, summer is here.