New or­ga­ni­za­tion to fight for rights of ’60s Scoop sur­vivors

Com­pen­sa­tion plans be­ing de­vised with­out ad­e­quate in­put, or­ga­niz­ers say

Regina Leader-Post - - CITY + REGION - BETTY ANN ADAM

A newly formed Saskatchewan ad­vo­cacy group wants Indige­nous peo­ple through­out the prov­ince who were placed in fos­ter or adop­tive homes to join and make their voices heard.

An ad hoc group of about 25 Indige­nous former fos­ter chil­dren and adoptees from around the prov­ince met in Saska­toon this week to be­gin the process of in­cor­po­rat­ing as a non-profit so­ci­ety.

Robert Doucette and Melissa Parkyn were cho­sen as co-chairs of a seven-person board that will lead the es­tab­lish­ment of the group, which aims to rep­re­sent their shared in­ter­ests to the fed­eral and provin­cial gov­ern­ments.

The group is con­cerned that an agree­ment in prin­ci­ple, an­nounced in Oc­to­ber by Crown-Indige­nous Re­la­tions Min­is­ter Carolyn Ben­nett, was ar­rived at with­out par­tic­i­pa­tion of the peo­ple it is in­tended to com­pen­sate, Doucette said.

“The amount and other things are be­ing de­cided with­out any in­put from the ac­tual sur­vivors and claimants to these ac­tions ... They want to know how this all hap­pened,” said Doucette, a former fos­ter child and past-pres­i­dent of the Metis Nation-Saskatchewan.

“The other thing peo­ple are very con­cerned about is the fact the Metis and non-sta­tus (First Na­tions) have been left out of the agree­ment in prin­ci­ple,” he said.

The agree­ment in prin­ci­ple of­fers up to $750 mil­lion to First Na­tions and Inuit peo­ple who were made wards of the gov­ern­ment and placed in fos­ter or adop­tive homes, usu­ally with non-Indige­nous par­ents, be­tween 1951 and 1991. As well, $50 mil­lion is of­fered for a heal­ing foun­da­tion.

Metis and non-sta­tus First Na­tions peo­ple were as neg­a­tively af­fected by the child re­moval sys­tem as Inuit and sta­tus First Na­tions peo­ple, and they are equally en­ti­tled to be com­pen­sated by the Gov­ern­ment of Canada, Doucette said.

Mem­bers are also con­cerned that peo­ple may be rush­ing to sign up with lawyers be­fore it’s clear whether that ex­pense will be nec­es­sary to ac­cess the com­pen­sa­tion.

The group re­ceived guid­ance from Colleen Car­di­nal and Duane Mor­riseau-Beck of the Na­tional Indige­nous Sur­vivors of Child Wel­fare Net­work and Sharon Gladue-Paskimin and Adam North-Peigan of the Six­ties Scoop Indige­nous So­ci­ety of Al­berta.

The group hopes all sta­tus and non-sta­tus First Na­tions, Metis and Inuit sur­vivors from all over the prov­ince will join the so­ci­ety to cre­ate a truly rep­re­sen­ta­tive group with a uni­fied voice.

“It will also en­sure that all the peo­ple who have gone through so much trauma in their life will know they’re not alone ... It hasn’t been easy,” Doucette said.

The group has no email ad­dress or phone num­ber yet, so the best way to con­tact them is on the Six­ties Scoop Indige­nous So­ci­ety of Saskatchewan Face­book group.

BETTY ANN ADAM

Robert Doucette is help­ing to or­ga­nize the new group.

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