The Saskatchewan government said there will be no compensation for Sixties Scoop survivors. An $875 million settlement was federally approved back in May. (CP file photo) Two Sixties Scoop survivors say they are relieved a concrete date has been set for the Saskatchewan government to apologize for the province’s role in the separation of Indigenous children from their families.
The apology is set for Jan. 7. Robert Doucette, the co-chair of the Sixties Scoop Indigenous Society of Saskatchewan (SSIS), said that date is sooner than was initially anticipated, but it will be a good start to the new year.
"I don’t think it’s too late," Doucette said. "For me, it is very exciting to be a part of that process."
Former Premier Brad Wall said back in 2015 that there would be an apology from the provincial government, but that commitment went unfulfilled for several years.
Sharing circles, designed to help facilitate a "meaningful" apology from the province, were held earlier this year across multiple Saskatchewan communities.
Government officials and representatives including MLAs attended those circles to document and witnesses the stories.
"I really believe that they left those sharing circles different people, hearing all the traumas that people experienced as they grew up in foster homes," Doucette said.
Doucette said he’s hopeful the apology could act as an educational tool in addition to potentially providing closure and a chance for scoop survivors to heal.
"This is important history that happened to us, that we can’t ever forget," said Melissa Parkyn, co-chair of the SSISS.
Parkyn said she wants the apology to be something that has an impact in the province, rather than just another task for the government to cross off its to-do list.
The important part of the sharing circles was ensuring that survivors made their voices heard, Doucette said, something he claims did not happen when an $875 million settlement was approved by a federal judge back in May.
Doucette has also launched a separate lawsuit against the province and the federal government alleging the two entities breached their fiduciary duty and common law duties of care owed to him and Sixties Scoop survivors. He said it’s up to the court to decide if any compensation is warranted.
"Since committing to delivering an apology to survivors of the sixties scoop, the Government of Saskatchewan has been clear that compensation will not be part of this apology," a government spokesperson said in an email.
"The apology will be focused on acknowledging the pain and trauma endured by those that survived the sixties scoop, and providing a meaningful apology for the role that the Government of Saskatchewan played at the time."
There is concern that some Sixties Scoop survivors and their families might not be able to make the trip to Regina to witness the apology, but Doucette said there is work in progress to have the apology recorded or streamed online.
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