A travelling exhibit that shares the history of the Sixties Scoop through the first-hand experiences of survivors was on display in Edmonton on Sunday.
“We advocate for survivors so we can actually start the healing process together,” said Sharon Gladue, vice president of the Sixties Scoop Indigenous Society of Alberta. “Once survivors start sharing their stories, that’s the beginning of their healing process. We need to honour those stories.”
Gladue is featured in the exhibit. She was taken from her family at the age of two and put in foster care until she was adopted at the age of seven.
“Mainstream Albertans need to know that this did happen and there were a lot of atrocities and it’s why there’s a lot of homelessness and addiction and suicide,” Gladue said.
“It’s affected each and every one of us.”
The exhibit was created in partnership with the Sixties Scoop Indigenous Society of Alberta and the Legacy of Hope Foundation. It was made possible thanks to a $200,000 provincial grant and will return to Edmonton in late May.
The goal of the exhibit is to increase public awareness, and provide online resources to support Sixties Scoop survivors.
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“It’s a step in terms of expanding the number of people who understand what happened with the Sixties Scoop in Alberta, and really, across the country,” said Minister of Indigenous Affair Richard Feehan.
“We’re learning about the horrible experiences that people had to endure, losing their families, their culture,” Feehan added. “This gives a chance for people to come together and talk, to hear other people’s stories and to share their own.”
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In May 2018, Premier Rachel Notley delivered a formal apology in the Legislature for past practices that led to the removal of Indigenous children from their families, resulting in a loss of culture, identity and community.
The Sixties Scoop has become known as one of the darkest chapters in Canada’s history. Between the 1950s and 1990s, thousands of Indigenous children across the country were taken from their homes by child welfare service workers and placed with mostly non-Indigenous families. In some instances, children were sent to live in other provinces and even other countries without their parents’ consent.
The exhibit will make stops in Calgary, Lethbridge, High Level, Peace River, St. Paul, Fort McMurray, Gift Lake Metis Settlement and Fishing Lake Metis Settlement.