Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe apologizes to ’60s Scoop survivors

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Sask. Premier Scott Moe apologizes to ’60s scoop survivors
Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe delivered a formal apology to the survivors of the '60s scoop at the legislature on Monday – Jan 7, 2019

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

“On behalf of the government of Saskatchewan and on behalf of the people of Saskatchewan, I stand before you today to apologize. I stand before you to say sorry,” Moe said at the legislature on Monday.

“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.”

READ MORE: ’60s Scoop survivors in Saskatchewan want change, not just apology

About 20,000 Indigenous children were seized from their birth families and relocated to non-Indigenous homes starting in the 1950s until the late 1980s.

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WATCH: ’60s Scoop sharing circles come to a end in Regina

Click to play video: '’60s Scoop sharing circles come to a end in Regina'
’60s Scoop sharing circles come to a end in Regina

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.

Moe acknowledged that there “is nothing that we can offer that will fully restore what you have lost.

“But what we can offer is the solemn assurance that government policies have changed and they continue to change.”

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Some survivors said before the apology that they hoped it would come with action to reduce the number of children in care.

Survivor Kerry Opoonechaw-Bellegarde, 43, said she was hoping to ask Moe personally to improve the foster-care system.

WATCH: ’60s Scoop settlement worth $875M approved by federal judge

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’60s Scoop settlement worth $875M approved by federal judge

The number of children in out-of-home care in Saskatchewan was over 5,200 at the end of September.

READ MORE: Sixties Scoop survivors share their stories with Saskatchewan government

Survivor George Scheelhaase said the government is apologizing for something that’s still going on. Children in Saskatchewan are still being apprehended in record numbers, he said.

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

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