Engagement sessions with Métis survivors setting stage for reconciliation with Ottawa
Published Saturday, March 23, 2019 11:16AM CST
Last Updated Monday, March 25, 2019 3:55AM CST
Métis Sixties Scoop Survivors are invited to share their stories and to state their vision for justice, healing, and restitution at engagement sessions in Winnipeg this weekend.
The sessions are meant to help guide what people want to see in the reconciliation process.
They are being held at Clarion Hotel & Suites on Portage Avenue Saturday and Sunday.
In a press release, the Manitoba Métis Federation said from 1951 to 1991, Métis children were apprehended and placed with non-Indigenous families, sometimes thousands of kilometres from their homes in other provinces and even other countries.
It said the federal government announced a year ago that it would settle numerous lawsuits related the Sixties Scoop, but these lawsuits only included First Nation Survivors. Métis Nation Survivors were left out in the settlement.
“The Sixties Scoop was an attempt to steal one child at a time, break our families, and diminish our Métis Nation. It is a dark chapter in Canadian history. Yet, for decades the churches, the federal government, and the provincial government denied any wrong-doing towards the Métis People. No more – the federal government has committed to working with the Métis Nation to redress the wrongs perpetrated against our People during the Sixties Scoop,” said Manitoba Métis Federation President David Chartrand in a press release.
The MMF said counselors and elders will be available to survivors during the engagement sessions.
The Métis National Council launched a Sixties Scoop web portal and registration database in December, which connects Métis Survivors from across the country with the reconciliation process.
The first engagement session was held in Swan River.
Several more sessions are set to take place across the Métis Nation Homeland in April.
The MNC hopes to reach a reconciliation agreement with the federal government by October 2019.
SURVIVORS SHARE STORIES
Darryl Landry, 50, was born in Northwestern Ontario. Around the age of 10, he was sent to a school near Toronto for more than three years and grew up in different foster homes.
"To me it’s about future. It's not about the past. Let's get on with things and make sure it doesn't happen anymore," said Landry.
Donna Cosgrove, 68, was born in Winnipeg but ended up in Vancouver until she moved back as an adult.
Her adopted parents told her she was French and doesn't understand why they didn't talk about her Indigenous background.
"Your identity was taken away from you, because it's what your parents tell you, and I'm just trying to find that now," she said.
Cosgrove has since spent years trying to reconnect wither her six other siblings and piece together who she is.