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

Rod Belanger now and when he was a child one of many Indigenous people who were adopted or fostered by white families

After the Saskatchewan government's decades of silence, Premier Scott Moe apologized Monday morning for its role in the Sixties Scoop. But I do know this.

Moe also talked about the six sharing circles held throughout Saskatchewan leading up to the apology and how more than 200 survivors participated.

"Thousands of First Nations, Métis and Inuit children were placed in non-Indigenous foster and adoptive homes in Saskatchewan, and in some cases, across Canada and the United States". "However, during the Sixties Scoop, not almost enough consideration was given to the fact that Indigenous children come from communities with their own rich traditions, culture and history". As a result, he noted families were separated and children grew up without an identity.

"We failed their families". We failed their families. Moe re-affirmed his commitment to that apology early previous year at the leadership convention when he was chosen as the next premier of Saskatchewan. The consequences are still being felt by individuals and families to this day.

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

Survivors are hoping the apology comes with action to reduce the number of children in care.

Saskatchewan was the last of the Prairie provinces to issue an apology to the 60's Scoop survivors. "That means immediate and serious change as this is First Nations jurisdiction" said FSIN Chief Bobby Cameron in a statement.

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Survivor Kerry Opoonechaw-Bellegarde, 43, said she was hoping to ask Moe personally to improve the foster-care system.

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

He said the provincial government failed those survivors.

Robert Doucette, a survivor and co-chair of Sixties Scoop Indigenous Society of Saskatchewan, said he cried during the ceremony as he thought about lost members of his family that he'll never see.

Saskatchewan is the third province to apologize about its government's role in the Sixties Scoop, after Alberta and Manitoba. Party has long stated it would not do so.

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

"If these injustices persist, we need to do something about them, instead of waiting for tomorrow's leaders to apologize for today's wrongs 20 years from now". "The '60s Scoop refers to a period in time in Canadian history where Indigenous children were removed from their families and their communities by child welfare services". "We will learn for your experiences and we will continue to engage with you. This apology is empty if it is not followed through with action". "We failed", Moe told the crowd of a couple hundred people at the legislature.

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