Sharing Circles Informed the Sixties Scoop Apology
The Sixties Scoop Indigenous Society of Saskatchewan and the Government of Saskatchewan engaged those affected by the Sixties Scoop across the province that helped the provincial government prepare a meaningful apology.
The Sixties Scoop refers to a period in Saskatchewan's history when Indigenous children were removed from their parents and communities by provincial child welfare services. Status, non-status, Métis and Inuit children were placed for adoption and/or foster care and were raised outside of their communities without the influences of their Indigenous culture, values and languages.
2. Sharing Circle Events
The Sixties Scoop Indigenous Society of Saskatchewan (SSISS) partnered with the Government of Saskatchewan in 2018 to shape a provincial government apology that is meaningful and promotes healing to those affected by the Sixties Scoop.
Any individuals who were adopted, in permanent and temporary wards, are status, non-status, eligible to be status, Métis or Inuit were welcome to attend.
How did individuals participate?
Individuals were invited to attend a Sharing Circle to hear from others who have been affected. Participants shared their stories, thoughts, experiences and learned more about the Sixties Scoop.
Talking about and reliving past experiences and traumas was an overwhelming and emotional experience for some participants. Health support workers and elders were available at each session.
Locations and dates
Sessions were held at the following locations:
- Meadow Lake – October 13, 2018
Senior Citizens Activity Centre, 406 5 Avenue West, Meadow Lake
- North Battleford – October 20, 2018
Western Development Museum, North Battleford
- Prince Albert – October 27, 2018
Senator Allen Bird Gym, 851 23 Street West, Prince Albert
- Saskatoon – November 3 and November 4, 2018 (two sessions)
Saskatoon Indian & Métis Friendship Centre, 168 Wall Street, Saskatoon
- Fort Qu'Appelle – November 17, 2018
Treaty Four Governance Centre, 740 Sioux Avenue South, Fort Qu'Appelle
- Regina – November 24 and November 25, 2018 (two sessions)
Mâmawêyatitân Centre, 3355 6 Avenue, Regina
What individuals needed to know
- There was no cost to attend.
- Sessions were held from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. with a pipe ceremony at 7:30 a.m
- Lunch was provided.
- No childcare was provided.
- Travel and accommodation expenses were not reimbursed.
- Note takers were present to document the stories.
- All stories were kept anonymous.
- No media were allowed in the Sharing Circle event space.
How each session unfolded
Each day started with a cultural ceremony, smudging and prayers. Opening remarks and a short presentation followed. Attendees were then invited to take part in Sharing Circles.
Each Sharing Circle was led by a SSISS facilitator to encourage meaningful and respectful conversation centred around three questions:
- How has being a Sixties Scoop survivor impacted you, your family, your life?
- What would a meaningful apology from the Government of Saskatchewan look like to you?
- What desires or hopes do you have coming out of the apology?
Art supplies were also available for those who wished to express themselves through art.
The purpose of the Sharing Circles was to help inform the Government of Saskatchewan on how to offer an apology that is meaningful and promotes healing. For this reason, compensation was not discussed.
3. Online Story Submission
Online story submissions were accepted until November 28, 2018. All responses will remain confidential.
Input from the Sharing Circles and online submissions were used to inform the Government of Saskatchewan on what a meaningful apology would look like to those affected by the Sixties Scoop.
Read the Government of Saskatchewan's Sixties Scoop Apology on January 7, 2019.
5. About the Sixties Scoop Indigenous Society of Saskatchewan
The SSISS is a non-profit society formed by a group of First Nations, Métis and non-status individuals who came together to represent those affected by the Sixties Scoop across Saskatchewan.
All SSISS members were affected by the Sixties Scoop in some form and are committed to raising awareness and supporting those affected.
SSISS was a partner in planning and facilitating the Sharing Circle events.
Sixties Scoop Indigenous Society of Saskatchewan board:
- Melissa Parkyn – Co-chair
- Robert Doucette – Co-chair
- Anna McArthur Parent – Treasurer
- Audrey Ben – Knowledge Keeper
- Vince Vandale – Board Member
- Patricia Whitebear – Board Member
- Norine Tourangeau – Board Member
- Rod Belanger – Board Member
- Shelby LaRose – Youth Representative