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‘I just want to hug her’: Sask family works to reunite with aunt taken to Europe in 60s Scoop

They were separated half a century ago by the 60s Scoop, but a Saskatchewan family is working on a reunion with their long lost aunt.

Kimberly Lee Ann Settee Jones was taken from her parents in the 60s Scoop more than 50 years ago. Her birth family in Saskatchewan is working to bring her and her children back for a visit. (submitted by Erin Parenteau)

They were separated half a century ago by the 60s Scoop, but a Saskatchewan family is working on a reunion with their long lost aunt.

Kimberly Lee Ann Settee Jones was taken by social workers from her family near Prince Albert as a baby. She had a good mother with a supportive extended family, said her niece, Erin Parenteau.

But she was considered unfit as a single mother because her partner worked for long periods in the northern forests, Parenteau said.

Erin Parenteau and her husband, Justin, are working to reunite their family with her aunt taken in the 60s Scoop to Wales more than 50 years ago. (submitted by Erin Parenteau)

Settee Jones was adopted by a Welsh couple working in Big River, Sask. at the time. The couple moved back to Wales. 

Parenteau said they were loving, caring people, but Settee Jones had no contact with her birth family or culture.

Then last year, after a series of DNA tests and social media posts, her Saskatchewan family realized they’d found her. Parenteau says she was overwhelmed when a relative first made contact with Settee Jones.

“I said ‘Is her name Kimberly Lee Ann?’ She said it is. I just broke down. I said ‘That’s her. That’s my auntie,” Parenteau said. “It’s changed my whole life.”

Thousands of First Nations and Métis children were seized by social workers and adopted out in what’s known as the 60s Scoop. Many lost ties to their birth family, community and culture.

Following lawsuits, national hearings and other events, a compensation package has been offered to those children, who are in their 50s and older.

The family of Kim Lee Ann Settee Jones is working to bring her home to Saskatchewan to visit her birth family more than 50 years after she was taken to Wales as part of the 60s Scoop. (submitted by Erin Parenteau)

The family hopes to bring Settee Jones and her kids to Saskatchewan for a visit once they sort out passports and other documentation.

They plan to take her to sweat lodges and other ceremonies for the first time. Other relatives want to take her hunting and fishing.

Parenteau said the wait is excruciating.

“It’s so bittersweet because I just want to hug her,” she said. “She’s so missed here. It’s overwhelming because she’s so loved by all of us here.”

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