Tuesday, January 15, 2019

90% of Kids Seized By the Manitoba Government Are Indigenous

Manitoba is in Canada if you were wondering.

This statistic is brought to you by a devastating video making the rounds on the internet that shows a mother sobbing as social workers and cops take her newborn baby from her. Her family is there, arguing for her and asking if there will be time made for bonding between the mother and baby. If you know anything about child development you know how essential the newborn bonding period is.

Why are they taking this baby away?

The child was taken away because of a false accusation that the mother was drunk when she arrived at the hospital to give birth, the woman’s aunt said. 
The videos show family members telling social workers the accusation was not true. They ask whether the baby could stay with one of them instead of being taken away. The request is denied.

I don't know how you can accuse a person in labor of being drunk. How could you even tell, honestly? They're in pain, and they're utterly awash in hormones as the body prepares for the most painful experience they will likely ever endure. If they thought she was drunk when she arrived, truly, then did they not perform a blood test or something? And if not, then they have no proof, so how can they possibly justify taking a baby away from their mother?

Racism is how. In Manitoba, 90% of cases like these are with Indigenous mothers and babies. Canada has a long and horrific history of anti-indigenous racism, which includes genocidal policies of separating children from their families and sterilizing Indigenous women via coercion or simply without their consent.

Hopefully this video will get people to start noticing and caring about this issue. I know, however, that many will brush this off because the mother in the video has struggled with addiction.

Cora Morgan, a family advocate for the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs, said the mother may have been targeted for a “birth alert” – a note to social workers that an expectant mother is high risk – because she had another daughter who was temporarily in care several years ago. 
The woman had previously sought help for addictions and with parenting from Child and Family Services, Ms. Morgan said, but was not intoxicated when she arrived at the hospital to give birth.

Addiction and poverty are closely linked, as are poverty and being an Indigenous person in Canada. That generational poverty fueled by systemic racism combines with general racism to result in scenes like this, where an Indigenous mother is more likely to be labeled "high risk," hospital workers are more likely to call social workers on her, and social workers are more likely to take her child away because of her race.

There needs to be some kind of concerted effort to stop this cycle. As things are now, this would mean government intervention. Unfortunately, Trudeau is not the progressive angel that he passed himself off as during the election. His record with Indigenous Canadians is shit. We're going to have to put a lot of pressure on him and the Canadian government in general to get this shit to stop.

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