Saskatchewan premier of­fi­cially apol­o­gizes to ’60s Scoop sur­vivors

‘ We are sorry for the pain and the sad­ness that you have ex­pe­ri­enced’

StarMetro Toronto - - BIG OPINIONS - Ryan Mckenna

REGINA — Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe apol­o­gized to sur­vivors of the ‘60s Scoop Mon­day for fail­ing them and leav­ing them “caught be­tween two worlds.”

“On be­half of the gov­ern­ment of Saskatchewan and on be­half of the peo­ple of Sas- NANAIMO, B.C.— An 8- yearold boy has been killed in a col­li­sion with a pickup truck while rid­ing his bi­cy­cle in Nanaimo, B.C.

Po­lice say the ac­ci­dent hap­pened just be­fore noon katchewan, I stand be­fore you to­day to apol­o­gize. I stand be­fore you to say sorry,” Moe said be­fore around 200 peo­ple at the leg­is­la­ture.

“We are sorry for the pain and the sad­ness that you have ex­pe­ri­enced. We are sorry for your loss of cul­ture and lan­guage. And to all of those who lost con­tact with their fam­ily, we’re so sorry.”

About 20,000 Indige­nous chil­dren were seized from their birth fam­i­lies and re­lo­cated to non- Indige­nous homes start­ing in the 1950s

Sun­day when the boy rode out of a drive­way.

Emer­gency first aid was ad­min­is­tered by Good Sa­mar­i­tans and po­lice say the child re­ceived quick med­i­cal care from hos­pi­tal staff, but he couldn’t be saved.

RCMP in­ves­ti­ga­tors ob­tained mul­ti­ple state­ments and spoke with the driver of the truck in­volved in the crash.

Po­lice said the boy was with a si­b­ling when he rode un­til the late 1980s.

The prac­tice stripped chil­dren of their lan­guage, cul­ture and fam­ily ties.

Moe said the con­se­quences are be­ing felt to this day and he thanked the sur­vivors, now adults, who told their sto­ries at six shar­ing cir­cles the gov­ern­ment set up so that the prov­ince could bet­ter un­der­stand what hap­pened.

“We are grate­ful for your can­dour and we are grate­ful for your courage,” he said.

Sur­vivor Kerry Opoonechaw-bel­le­garde, 43, said she

out of the drive­way and was wear­ing a bike hel­met.

In­ves­ti­ga­tors say al­co­hol, speed and drugs aren’t be­lieved to be con­tribut­ing fac­tors.

The RCMP say the ve­hi­cle has been seized and will un­dergo a me­chan­i­cal in­spec­tion.

“This is just a tragic oc­cur­rence,” Const. Gary O’brien said in a state­ment. felt lonely go­ing into the leg­is­la­ture be­cause she wanted her par­ents to be there.

Both of her par­ents were res­i­den­tial school sur­vivors.

She had hoped Moe would men­tion the par­ents of those seized in his apol­ogy.

She met with Moe af­ter- wards but left dis­ap­pointed.

“I showed him the pic­ture of my par­ents and I said, ‘You for­got to di­rectly apol­o­gize to our par­ents,’” OpoonechawBel­le­garde said.

Robert Doucette, a sur­vivor and co- chair of Six­ties Scoop Indige­nous So­ci­ety of Saskatchewan, said he cried dur­ing the cer­e­mony as he thought about lost mem­bers of his fam­ily that he’ll never see.

The apol­ogy was a high­light of his life and a step in the right di­rec­tion, he said.

“I waited 56 years for this apol­ogy,” Doucette said.

“I heard the premier say he was sorry, and there was ac­knowl­edg­ment of the harms that they per­pe­trated on First Na­tions and Métis chil­dren and I ap­pre­ci­ate that.”

Sur­vivor Terri Par­sons said the apol­ogy was very mov­ing and needed to be said.

Al­berta and Man­i­toba have al­ready apol­o­gized for their role in the ‘60s Scoop.

Nanaimo boy killed while rid­ing bi­cy­cle on the street

Premier Scott Moe said the con­se­quences of the seizure are still be­ing felt to this day.

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