Métis Nation of Alberta Engages Métis Sixties Scoop Survivors

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April 2,2019 (Edmonton, Alberta) – This past weekend some 50 Métis survivors of the Sixties Scoop, along with their supports, gathered to share their experiences with the Métis Nation of Alberta’s (MNA) Provincial Council and MNA Elders Council.

The engagement session was part of a national initiative led by the Métis National Council and its governing members. The session was a follow-up to a National Symposium on Métis 60s Scoop Survivors held in Winnipeg in October 2018, to hear from Métis 60s Scoop survivors in Alberta. This engagement session was also part of a series of six workshops occurring across the Métis Homeland. 

Manitoba Métis Federation

  1. March 15-17, 2019 – Swan River, Manitoba
  2. March 22-24, 2019 – Winnipeg, Manitoba

Métis Nation of Alberta

  1. March 29-31, 2019 – Edmonton, Alberta

Métis Nation – Saskatchewan

  1. April 5-7, 2019 – Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

Métis Nation of Ontario

  1. April 12-14, 2019 – Toronto, Ontario

Métis Nation British Columbia

  1. April 26-28, 2019 – Richmond, British Columbia

The sessions will inform a plan for reconciliation with the federal government, which will address the legacy and harmful effects of the 60s Scoop on the Métis people. Some of the strategies discussed addressed the lost potential resulting from the trauma. Options for reconciliation included options such as apologies from the federal and provincial governments, child and welfare agencies, and the RCMP. Other options included support for survivors’ healing processes, compensation, post education support for families, public awareness and education, and services for supporting the repatriation and reconnection of survivors with their birth families.

Métis 60s Scoop survivors and their families are encouraged to participate and can find information on all the sessions at sixties.scoop.metisportals.ca or by calling toll free: 1-800-928-6330 Ext. 532. 

The Métis Nation of Alberta is exploring options for further action and support of our Métis citizens who survived the Sixties Scoop. If you want to find out more, please visit our website or contact Cristina Rathjen at crathjen@metis.org or 780-455-2200 Ext. 403.

Quotes:

The forced removal of Métis children from their birth homes and placement in non-indigenous homes is a difficult part of our history; the impacts of which are still being felt today. To build a positive, prosperous future for the Métis people of Alberta and throughout the homeland, we must address and reconcile those events that continue to negatively impact our people, families, and communities.

– Audrey Poitras, President of the Métis Nation of Alberta

For every child that was lost, there is a mother who had a hole in her heart. Trees cannot grow if they don’t have roots. Our children need to be proud of who they are and be taught about their families, culture, and history. We need to stand-up for our children today.

– Métis Sixties Scoop Survivor

I feel like I’ve been waiting fifty years for this day.

– Métis Sixties Scoop Survivor

Our focus as a nation is not on monetary compensation, but rather on accountability.

– Métis Sixties Scoop Survivor

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For more information about the Metis Nation of Alberta, please visit albertametis.com.

Media contact:

Rolando Inzunza
Director of Communications & Citizen Engagement
Métis Nation of Alberta
780-455-2200 ext. 395
rinzunza@metis.org

Background on the Sixties Scoop:

The “Sixties Scoop” is a term used to describe a child welfare policy developed and implemented throughout the 1960s that involved apprehending Indigenous children from their communities and placing them into middle-class Euro-Canadian families that were hundreds, sometimes thousands, of miles away from their families. The representation of Métis children within the child welfare system accelerated throughout the 1960s, 1970s, and even into the 1980s.

The practice of removing Métis children from their homes and into state care existed long before the 1960s through the residential and day school system. However, throughout the late 1950s these institutions became highly discredited and the child welfare system became the new agent of assimilation and colonization. While the federal government may have been the prime catalyst for the Sixties Scoop, it was the provincial governments that apprehended Métis children. 

The separation of children from their families and their placement into foster homes led to the destitution of families. Children were often physically, psychologically, and sexually abused while they were in the care. Much like the residential schools, children grew up in an environment that did not foster the growth of parenting or life skills. The forced removal of these children, and the intergenerational trauma, is directly linked to the socio-economic difficulties that face the Métis Nation today.