Alberta apologizes to Sixties Scoop survivors

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Above: Grand entry into the legislature before Alberta’s historic Sixties Scoop apology. – GOA Photo

by Morinville News Staff

Alberta officially apologized for past practices that led to the removal of Indigenous children from their families. Known as the Sixties Scoop, the government says the actions lead to a loss of culture, identity and connection to their communities, and those impacts are still felt by survivors and their families today. The apology is part of Alberta’s reconciliation efforts.

“It hurts just to imagine the heartbreak experienced by these families, along with the loss of language, culture and sense of belonging,” said Premier Rachel Notley. “Survivors can never replace what was taken, and I am sorry. We must acknowledge these wrongs and the toll they have taken, and thank survivors for their courage in speaking up.”

Sixties Scoop Indigenous Society of Alberta President Adam North Peigan said the apology from the Premier is an acknowledgement that the Sixties Scoop was a dark chapter in Alberta’s history.

“This apology is long overdue and is a greatly needed step in the healing process for our Indigenous communities,” he said. “This apology means a lot, not only to survivors but to Albertans in general as well because it’s an opportunity to create public awareness on the history and legacy of the Sixties Scoop.”

The Sixties Scoop took place across Canada during the 1950s to the 1980s and resulted in an unknown number of First Nation, Metis and Inuit children taken from parents, families and communities by child intervention services. The children were placed with predominantly non-Indigenous families. The government says many of these children experienced abuse, mistreatment and neglect.

The Government of Alberta has been working with the Sixties Scoop Indigenous Society of Alberta over the past few months conducting engagement sessions across Alberta, providing the opportunity to listen to survivors.

Alberta issued an apology in 2015 to acknowledge past mistreatment of Indigenous people in the federal residential school system.

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