An official apology has been made by the province to the survivors and families of the Sixties Scoop.
Premier Rachel Notley delivered the message in the Alberta Legislature on Monday, apologizing for Indigenous children being taken away from their families.
“Survivors can never replace what was taken, and I am sorry,” said Notley, in a release.
“We must acknowledge these wrongs and the toll they have taken, and thank survivors for their courage in speaking up.”
Sixties Scoop Indigenous Society of Alberta President Adam North Peigan says the apology ‘means a lot’ and will help create public awareness on the issue.
“This apology is long overdue and is a greatly needed step in the healing process for our Indigenous communities.”
Words Can’t Help
Back in February, the provincial government held an engagement session where survivors were able to share their stories.
Maggy H, who was taken along with her brother, told Mix News she endured years of abuse at the hands of her foster parents.
This included sticking her fingers in hot peppers before putting them in her mouth because she was biting her nails. She says she was also forced to eat bars of soap for soiling herself and dropping an earring down the sink.
However, it didn’t stop at home.
“Having to deal with racism at school, we didn’t know we were Aboriginal, we were teased, thrown sand and stones at us, I immediately would fight back physically to anybody who would say anything bad towards my brother or I.”
Another who shared her story was Beverly L.
For two years she was neglected and tormented.
“If we ever got in trouble, we would have to wash our walls with our toothbrush, that was our penance.”
After two years, she was eventually allowed to return to Fort Chipewyan but dealt with emotional stress.
Meanwhile, both believe just an apology isn’t good enough.
“If they don’t do the work to make sure the families are protected, then those are just words,” said Beverly.
As for Maggy, she believes she’ll never be able to forgive.
“There is no way you can apologize for what’s been done, you can’t teach or give somebody trust, I have no trust for people, I grew up with a lot of anger – you pretty much waste a whole life living as a soldier to survive – you can’t bring back any of that, how can you apologize for this.”