Introducing: Binoojiinyag gaa-bi-giiwejig, The Children Who Came Home

This article is part of our ongoing Introducing Series where we spotlight the people, projects, and organizations that are working on the forefront of social innovation in Canada. Read more articles from the series.


The term ‘60’s scoop’ refers to the mass removal of Indigenous children from their families into the child welfare system. Child welfare legislation and policy changes had Social workers, deprived of the information, skills and resources to address poverty, disempowerment, multi-generational grief and loss of parenting knowledge defaulted to a practice of mass removal during the 60’s and well beyond.

After a provincial apology from the Children Aid’s Society left the local community feeling a lack of acknowledgement of their unique situation, the community and local CAS came together in the spirt of designing something by the survivors for the survivors. Binoojiinyag gaa-bi-giiwejig-Children who came home initiative was formed by engaging the community in education sessions and by forming a group of survivors to design what needed to be done.

The group of over 20 participants met monthly to identify ways to welcome others home. They were committed to having the experience be better than what they experienced when they came home.

 Binoojiinyag gaa-bi-giiwejig-Children who came homeThe group has been very successful in designing their own logo, documenting their stories in film, creating a welcome home bundle and are now preparing to create a commemorative space. 

Their journey, successes and key insights are captured in a report with companion playbook. The playbook may be used to support other communities on a similar path. The support of Social Innovation Canada, helped to memorialize the journey.

To learn more about our work, please connect with Kathryn Manners, kathy@kathrynmanners.com.

In March 2020 we put out a call for case studies on behalf of the Centre for Social Innovation Institute, offering five grants of $5000 each to help Grantees tell their story and share their learning, successes, failures and insights in efforts to advance their work and contribute to building a field of knowledge around Social R&D. The Institute sought case studies that were from across Canada, from rural and urban contexts and that centred equity for BIPOC and challenges, equity-seeking projects, and those identifying systems changes (new policies, resource flows, routines, belief systems) were prioritized in the selection process. Additional criteria included relevance/value of insights to the social R&D community and also the relevance of these case studies for Grantees and their communities. Binoojiinyag gaa-bi-giiwejig-Children who came home is part of this initiative.

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