Manitoba formally apologizes for ’60s Scoop

Manitoba has become the first province to formally apologize to aboriginal adoptees for taking them from their homes and placing them with non-native families.

WINNIPEG — Manitoba has become the first province to formally apologize to aboriginal adoptees for taking them from their homes and placing them with non-native families.

Premier Greg Selinger delivered the apology in the provincial legislature following a ceremony for those who were caught up in the ’60s Scoop.

“Today, as premier, I would like to apologize on behalf of the province of Manitoba for the ’60s Scoop — the practice of removing First Nations, Metis and Inuit children from their families and placing them for adoption in non-indigenous homes, sometimes far from their home community, and for the losses of culture and identity to the children and their families and communities,” Selinger said.

Thousands of aboriginal children across Canada were taken by child-welfare agents starting in the 1960s and placed with non-aboriginal families.

Selinger acknowledged that the practice stripped those children of their language, culture and traditions, and had a similar impact to that of residential schools.

He said the harm caused continues to this day and he promised to raise the ’60s Scoop at the next roundtable on missing and murdered aboriginal women.

Selinger also said the subject will be included in Manitoba’s school curriculum.

Some adoptees, saying an apology is not enough, want formal recognition and a commission similar to the one for Indian residential school survivors.

Class-action lawsuits have been filed in Ontario, Manitoba, Alberta and Saskatchewan and aboriginal leaders have said they hope the Manitoba apology is accompanied by action.

Grand Chief David Harper, who represents northern Manitoba First Nations, said the province has to do more to reunite families and counsel victims.

Marlene Orgeron was seized from her Manitoba reserve when she was three. Social workers told her uncle he would be arrested if he tried to stop them.

She was taken to New Orleans where she was abused mentally and physically by a white family.

At the honouring ceremony before the apology, Orgeron said she grew up wanting to die, wanting the pain to end.

Being taken from her family robbed her of her identity.

“I spent the last 20 years putting myself back together,” she recalled, crying before a gathering of other adoptees, supporters and media.

Aboriginal Affairs Minister Eric Robinson, who is aboriginal, told the gathering that adoptees were subjected to medical exams and treated “like we were pets.”

“This is only the first step toward total reconciliation.”

Coleen Rajotte, who was taken from her Cree family in Saskatchewan and raised in Winnipeg, said the apology is the beginning of an important conversation.

“This is an historic day,” she said. “There is a lot left to be done.”

Just Posted

Despite warnings, plenty of temptations to thieves left in vehicles

Lock It or Lose It campaign still finding plenty of valuables left in plain sight

WATCH: Notley invites central Albertans to “team up” with New Democrats for equitable, prosperous future

NDP leader lashes out against her rival, Jason Kenney, calling him a cheater

Red Deer sees highest rate of fentanyl deaths

47 fentanyl-related deaths in 2018

Why Solar: Canada needs to get its collective house in order

Canada needs to get a grip. The country has one of the… Continue reading

Gardening: Take care when making plant purchases

After a cold February, the longer sunny days and warmer weather triggers… Continue reading

Canadian pair fifth after short program at figure skating worlds

SAITAMA, Japan — Canada’s Kirsten Moore-Towers and Michael Marinaro are fifth after… Continue reading

Director Kim Nguyen tackles financial ‘madness’ in ‘The Hummingbird Project’

TORONTO — As Quebec filmmaker Kim Nguyen tells it, “The Hummingbird Project”… Continue reading

What Disney gets as its $71.3B buy of Fox assets closes

It’s finally complete. Disney closed its $71 billion acquisition of Fox’s entertainment… Continue reading

Opinion: Let’s be heard ‘loud and clear’ during provincial election campaign

By David Marsden During the banquet for Sunday’s Boston Bruins alumni game,… Continue reading

Documentary on Colten Boushie case to open Toronto’s Hot Docs festival

TORONTO — A film examining the case of a young Indigenous man… Continue reading

Most Read