June 1, 2018
Edmonton, AB – On Monday, May 28th, the Government of Alberta issued an historic apology to the victims and survivors of a policy referred to as the ‘Sixties Scoop.’ The Metis Settlements General Council, on behalf of the Metis Sixties Scoop survivors, thank Premier Rachel Notley for her heartfelt apology for the atrocities that our members suffered through the actions of provincial child welfare workers. We look forward to meeting with the Premier and her cabinet to discuss how we can collectively implement changes to the Child Welfare Act and empower our Metis Settlements Children Services Division. During the Sixties Scoop, provincial child welfare workers across Canada took thousands of Indigenous children from their families, placing them in mostly non-Indigenous homes from the 1950s to the 1980s.
In October of 2017, the Government of Canada announced that it had reached a settlement agreement with survivors of the Sixties Scoop but that it excluded Métis and non-status indigenous people. Many activists, survivors and descendants considered this a slap in the face. It was subsequent provincial policies, enabled by Canada’s, that targeted Metis and non-status individuals. To this day, the Government of Alberta is still taking children out of the Settlements using policies set at Children Services and MSGC is engaging with the Government of Alberta to address this.
“Alberta took an important first step towards healing this open wound by making an apology to the survivors and victims. It is my sincere hope that this action provides some comfort for those affected by this tragic, racist policy.” – President Gerald Cunningham, Metis Settlements General Council
The Government of Alberta engaged in comprehensive consultations with survivors to hear their stories and to learn what would make an apology sincere and meaningful to them. The Sixties Scoop Indigenous Society of Alberta (‘SSISA), worked with the government on the consultations and apology.
“I personally want to thank the volunteers, survivors, and officials who worked on making this important day happen. It is also important to note that there is much more work yet to do. We must work with the Government of Alberta to implement real programs to address the trauma and we must do all that we can to ensure that documents and records are not destroyed.” – President Cunningham
The Metis Settlements General Council appreciates the actions taken by Premier Notley and Alberta. The organization remains disappointed that the federal government continues to exclude the Metis but is hopeful that Alberta is sincere and that they follow up the apology with meaningful action. Survivors and advocates have expressed their desire to see programs and services implemented to support victims and survivors. MSGC calls upon Alberta to take these steps now that the apology has been made.