Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe to apologize to '60s Scoop survivors

James Marshall
January 9, 2019

In a prepared statement delivered in the rotunda of the Saskatchewan Legislative Building Monday morning, Moe said it is hard for most people to comprehend what Sixties Scoop survivors went through. But I do know this.

Parkyn said it also includes several recommendations, like doing more to educate people about the Sixties Scoop, and holding more sharing circles to reach those who haven't recounted their experiences.

The Sixties Scoop refers to a period of Canadian history between the 1950s and 1980s when an estimated 20,000 Indigenous children were taken from their families and placed in non-Indigenous homes.

Moe stated not almost enough consideration was given to the fact Indigenous children come from communities with their own traditions, cultures and history. Moe acknowledged those children were cut off from their traditions, culture and history. In our province, we are only as strong as our families, we are only as strong as our communities ... And we failed their communities. That promise was made again during Premier Scott Moe's throne speech in October.

On Monday, Saskatchewan became the third province to issue an apology to survivors.

"This is a day for our government to acknowledge with honesty, with humility and with deep regret what happened in Saskatchewan".

Survivor Kerry Opoonechaw-Bellegarde, 43, said she felt lonely going into the legislature because she wanted her parents to be there.

Saskatchewan NDP leader Ryan Meili said Monday he hopes Moe's apology will come with improvements to child welfare in the province.

"Ladies and gentlemen, there is an earnest and concerted effort underway in Saskatchewan to support and uplift all those in need, including our friends and neighbours still dealing with the impact of the Sixties Scoop", he said.

Chief Bobby Cameron from the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations, which represents 74 First Nations in the province, did not attend the ceremony.

"Today, there are over 5,000 children in care in Saskatchewan, majority First Nations and Métis, and over 600 newborns have been removed from Saskatchewan over the past five years".

Alberta and Manitoba have already apologized for their role in the '60s Scoop. Party has long stated it would not do so. He now co-chairs the Sixties Scoop Indigenous Society of Saskatchewan (SSIS), an association of those who were caught up in the practice.

Moe thanked the SSISS and other survivors for helping bring the apology to life.

"My pledge to you today is we will honour and respect your experiences", he said. "We are deeply indebted to you", he said.

"There was an acknowledgement of the harms that successive governments have committed against First Nations and Métis children and their families during the sixties scoop and I look at it this way. This apology is empty if it is not followed through with action".

"We are grateful for your candour and we are grateful for your courage", he said.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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