A survivor of the Sixties Scoop says she was glad she could share her story with government officials.
Members of the Sixty Scoop Indigenous Survivors of Saskatchewan Group were in Regina earlier this week. They were in the city to meet with provincial officials and discuss issues related to the Sixties Scoop, including an apology.
The group of survivors met with Deputy Premier Gordon Wyant and Minister of First Nations, Metis and Northern Affairs Warren Kaeding.
“This is the first of future discussions with the Government of Saskatchewan and we look forward to working in partnership to develop a process that will give survivors an opportunity to be heard in safe surroundings,” said group spokesperson, Melissa Parkin. “Ultimately, this will lead to a meaningful apology based on what Sixty Scoop survivors feel is important.”
Parkin says during this week’s meeting, the government officials seemed very receptive to what they had to say.
“I thought it was only going to be a quick hour,” she told MBC News. “But they took the time to listen to our stories and they communicated how important our stories were.”
Former Premier Brad Wall promised an apology to Sixties Scoop survivors during his term in office. However, this did not happen before he retired. Wall said discussions on an apology stalled when the FSIN stated they were requiring compensation to come with the apology. Something the former premier didn’t seem willing to do.
Melissa Parkin says while compensation along with an apology would be nice, she says it isn’t necessary.
“Most of us agree it is not about the money,” she said. “It is about working with us to form a positive relationship, to get our stories out there and hopefully find reconciliation and healing.”
Government Relations Minister Warren Kaeding told MBC News they wanted to hear these stories.
“We certainly had a very emotional and powerful meeting,” said Kaeding.
In regards to an apology, Kaeding says the government is committed to it, but they will putting a lot of groundwork ahead of them before they officially apologize.
“There is no immediate request for an apology,” he said. “There has been a request to put a process in place we can both work with to move us forward.”
As to compensation, Kaeding says that is a federal issue.
Another meeting between the two groups has already been scheduled for early May.
(With files from Dan Jones.)
(PHOTO: A group of Sixties Scoop survivors with Deputy Premier Gord Wyant and First Nations and Metis Relations Minister Warren Kaeding. Photo provided by Robert Doucette.)