A University of Saskatchewan researcher says the residential school system, 60’s scoop and now inadequate child welfare policies have all served to normalize a culture where it is seen as acceptable for the state to take away Aboriginal children from their families.

Allyson Stevenson, a graduate student in the department of history, was one of the presenters this morning at the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association conference.

She says the non-Aboriginal community and media needs to be re-educated that Indigenous families do care for their children and they need to be kept together.

“I think in addition to proper funding, Canadians need to recognize this is not a normal situation that we find ourselves in, that Aboriginal people do in fact care for their children and Aboriginal families are an important part of our country and need to be kept together,” she says. “So, I think once non-Aboriginal people recognize the importance of strong Indigenous families, then changes will really take place.”

Stevenson adds the federal government has set up a system for Aboriginal families to fail by greatly under funding on-reserve education and child welfare.

She also says her research has shown family services workers tend to be more prone to remove a child from an Aboriginal family when comparing a similar situation in a non-Aboriginal family.

This is the fifth year of the NAISA conference and the first time it has been held outside the United States.