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Tears and painful memories as Manitoba premier apologizes for aboriginal adoptions

WATCH ABOVE: Premier Greg Selinger delivered the apology in the provincial legislature following a ceremony for those who were caught up in the ’60s Scoop.

WINNIPEG – Tears slowly fell from the faces of dozens of First Nation men and women who gathered at the Manitoba Legislative buildings today to hear the Premier offer an apology to thousands of 60’s scoop survivors.

“Today as premier I would like to apologize,” Greg Selinger told MLAs and spectators in the gallery of the Manitoba Legislature Thursday. “The human impact on families and communities are profound…it must be recognized for the harm it caused. They were stripped of their culture , language and traditions.”

Manitoba is the first province to apologize for the “Adopt Indian and Metis program” that took thousands of children from their homes in the sixties, seventies and early eighties.

Kinzie Halcrow says he was plucked from his mothers arms and sent to live with a white family in Texas when he was just a few years old  At the time he only understood Cree and says he was teased relentlessly for not understanding English.

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READ MORE: ’60s Scoop: ‘They didn’t give my family a chance’

“I’m still confused to this day,” said an emotional Halcrow.  He says his adoptive parents told he was never allowed back in Canada, and by the time 52-year-old realized that was a lie and returned to Manitoba, both his birth parents were dead, he is still struggling to reconnect with his sister who was sent to live with another family.  “I still don’t understand ‘why’.”

Several class-action lawsuits is in the works for survivors, many who say they endured physical, sexual and emotional abuse at the hands of their adoptive parents.

David Chartrand is part of the lawsuit which is aimed at both federal and provincial governments and says while the apology is a start, it in no way makes up for the pain they endured.

READ MORE: Manitoba Métis Federation president criticizes ’60s Scoop apology

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