The Sixties Scoop saw tens of thousands of Indigenous children taken from their families and adopted out across the country and the world, to mostly white families, between the 1960s and the 1980s. (CP file photo) Saturday marks the first step in the Saskatchewan government’s effort to observe past wrongs and consider a "meaningful" apology to Sixties Scoop survivors.
The Sixties Scoop saw tens of thousands of Indigenous children taken from their families and adopted out across the country and the world, mostly to white families, between the 1960s and the 1980s.
"I was brought up in a non-native family and I lost my culture and tradition, not knowing who I was," said Melissa Parkyn, one of the facilitators for sharing circles being organized by the Sixties Scoop Indigenous Society of Saskatchewan (SSISS). "So, I pretty much lost my identity."
Eight sessions are scheduled across six different Saskatchewan communities throughout the rest of the year, with the final sessions taking place in Regina near the end of November.
The circles are designed to "encourage substantive and respectful conversations" about the Scoop and the effect it had on families which were broken apart, according to a news release from the Saskatchewan government.
"Our primary objective in this whole thing is just to give voice to Sixties Scoop survivors and provide that guidance to the government on their steps as we’ve started this journey together," said Robert Doucette, a scoop survivor and another of the facilitators for the SSISS.
Survivors will be able to speak about their experiences or write it down, Parkyn said. She said the circles will be a chance for someone to say their piece in a supportive environment with support workers and elders present. Melissa Parkyn is co-chair of the Sixties Scoop Indigenous Society of Saskatchewan, and will help facilitate the sharing circles which the Saskatchewan government hopes will inform their own apology to Sixties Scoop survivors. (CBC News) The youngest of 14 children, Parkyn was adopted out in 1979 to a non-native family in Alberta when she was only six months old. She met with her biological family, from the Moosomin First Nation, at age 18.
When she met her First Nations family at a gathering in North Battleford, there was some culture shock.
"I didn’t realize how much family I had until I actually seen them in person," Parkyn said.
That experience set in motion Parkyn’s motivation to do the work she’s doing now. Parkyn said she is "blessed" with support from both her biological and adoptive families.
She didn’t realize there were other Sixties Scoop survivors at the time. She later met others including people who were sent as far as New Zealand.
Even today, she’s still meeting family she didn’t know she had. Whether a survivor is First Nations, Inuit or Métis, every story is different but everyone has a similar connection, Parkyn said.
Kinship and a connection to family were missing for survivors who were sent abroad, she said. It would have helped to shape their cultural identity, had they been given the chance.
"You really come to have a sense that you really are in a family of survivors," Doucette said of the sharing circles.
"It’s still an ongoing issue," Parkyn said of Indigenous children going into government care.
"And there needs to be a lot of work still, preventative work, to go on to help families work together with social services … so they can keep their children within their families."There were 3,197 children under the care of Social Services in Saskatchewan, as of Sept. 30 of this year. Another 2,030 are placed in the legal custody of extended family or a close friend through […]
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