Sixties Scoop survivors meeting with Alberta minister to urge apology for apprehended children

Alberta Indigenous Relations Minister Richard Feehan is meeting Tuesday afternoon with survivors of the Sixties Scoop to discuss what type of apology would be most meaningful to the community. 

The group wants Alberta to issue an official apology to the Indigenous children who were apprehended by the province and placed in non-Indigenous foster homes in the sixties, seventies and eighties. 

They also want the province to apologize to their families.

Sharon Gladue-Paskimin is one of the people who will meet with Feehan. She was taken from her parents as a small child and placed in a non-Indigenous foster home just outside of Saskatoon.

Gladue-Paskimin said her adoptive father was kind-hearted and tried to make her and her sister feel proud of their Indigenous background. But they still felt ostracized.

"The only time we ever saw another native was sometimes another foster child was brought into the school," she said. "But then they would only be there for a week or even month."

Gladue-Paskimin, who has lived in Alberta for nearly 28 years, is now part of efforts to get an official apology from the provincial government.

Meaningful apology 

Manitoba officially apologized to Sixties Scoop survivors in 2015, making it the only province to do so. The federal government has yet to follow suit.

It appears Alberta may be next. 

But Feehan said he doesn't just want to apologize. He wants survivors to tell him what specific message would be most meaningful.

"Simply standing up in the legislature and apologizing without any kind of a process would fit a political bill but doesn't satisfy what really needs to happen in terms of the healing in the community," he said.

Gladue-Paskimin hopes an official apology from Alberta will encourage other provincial governments to do the same.

"It's the government's way of taking responsibility (for) their actions," she said. "And we want to make sure that this will never, never, ever happen again to the Aboriginal people."