Premier Rachel Notley says Alberta can’t commit to any formal apology for the ’60s Scoop without talking to indigenous families about how to make the gesture meaningful.
She says what happened was traumatic and the effects on families still reverberate and need to be addressed.
“It’s not just a matter … of getting up and apologizing,” Notley said Friday.
“It’s really something that should be the outcome of some very meaningful engagement and discussion with the people who were victims of the Scoop. Our government will now engage in conversations with a number of different representatives of indigenous groups to determine what they think is the best way forward.
“Then we’ll talk about what it would look like after we’ve done that. Not before.”
Indigenous Relations Minister Richard Feehan is meeting with affected groups.
An estimated 20,000 indigenous children were taken by child welfare agents starting in the 1960s and put into the care of non-indigenous families — both in Canada and the United States — on the premise they would receive better care.
The practice has been compared to the dark chapter of Indian residential schools since it stripped indigenous children of their language, culture and traditions. Many survivors have also said they were abused by their adoptive families.
In 2015, the Manitoba government became the first province to formally apologize for the trauma suffered by those removed from their homes.
Craig Makinaw, the Alberta regional chief for the Assembly of First Nations, said the next step should be meaningful action.
“There are other things that need to be dealt with other than the apology,” said Makinaw.