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‘This is a historic moment’: Doucette sees ’60s Scoop apology as healing moment

Click to play video: 'Sask. ’60s Scoop apology to happen in January'
Sask. ’60s Scoop apology to happen in January
WATCH ABOVE: The Saskatchewan government will begin the New Year by delivering the long promised apology for their role in the 60's scoop. It was first brought up in 2015, and it's been a bumpy road to get to this point. David Baxter has more on the varying reactions to the apology – Dec 18, 2018

For Robert Doucette, the Saskatchewan government’s apology for the ’60s Scoop has been a long time coming. The former head of the Metis Nation of Saskatchewan is a leader with ’60s Scoop Indigenous Survivors of Saskatchewan (SSISS) – the group helping form the basis for the apology.

“It’s another historic chapter in my life. In the history of this province, which is 112 years old, there has never been an apology done by any government to any Aboriginal group in the history of this province,” Doucette said.

“This is a historic moment and something that shouldn’t be taken too lightly, considering what’s been happening over the last number of years in Saskatchewan and all the stories between Aboriginal people and the government of Saskatchewan.”

READ MORE: Sask. ’60s Scoop apology to happen in January

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Sharing circles were held in six communities over the course of October and November. It provided a venue for ’60s Scoop survivors to share their stories. Those stories formed the basis for a report the SSISS complied for the province, which will inform the Jan. 7, 2019 apology.

The province began working with SSISS on the upcoming apology in May. This came after trying to set up an apology with the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations (FSIN) and Metis Nation since 2015.

READ MORE: ’60s Scoop sharing circles to guide provincial government’s apology

The FSIN and province hit an impasse when Chief Bobby Cameron suggested a compensation for survivors accompany the apology.

Cameron said that he respects the upcoming apology and hopes it helps people on their healing journeys.

“An apology is one that some groups have been waiting for an advocating for. We recognize that and respect that, right as a federation” Cameron said. “But there are some groups that they are leaving behind.”

Cameron said this includes groups lead by survivors like Melika Popp and Lynn Thompson.

READ MORE: Ontario ‘60s Scoop ruling could have ripple effect in Saskatchewan

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“I think for them and for us, we’ve acknowledged the compensation the federal government has put forth. I know some of the survivors would encourage the provincial government to match, or find an amount that will help them heal,” Cameron said.

The provincial government says the upcoming apology will not include compensation.

Cameron said he does not know if the FSIN has received an invitation to the Jan. 7 apology ceremony. Even is if the federation has, Cameron said he would not be able to attend due to out of province commitments.

“We just hope our survivors end up healing at the end of the day. Part of this apology will help some of those ’60s Scoop survivors heal, although there are still others saying we need our voices heard as well,” Cameron said.

When the SSISS presented their report to cabinet, Doucette said they included a number of “actionable items” they would like to see accompany the apology. This includes resources to establish support groups for survivors, like those at the Saskatoon Friendship Centre.

“This is something that we would like to see across Saskatchewan are those support groups so people will actually have an opportunity to continue talking about what is happening to them and get that off their mind and try and move forward with their lives,” Doucette said.

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The province said that they will not be commenting further on the apology until it takes place.

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