Senator Rene Gravelle
Provisional Council of the Métis Nation of Ontario (PCMNO)
Senator Rene Gravelle welcomes Sixties Scoop survivors
to the Ontario Community Engagement Session.

This past April, the Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO), held a three day symposium for Ontario Métis to share their stories, experiences, and recommendations, while addressing the legacy of Canada’s infamous “Sixties Scoop.”

The Sixties Scoop represents a dark chapter in Canadian history. Beginning in the 1950’s and spanning over three decades, the ‘Sixties Scoop’ saw the forced removal of thousands of Indigenous children from their families and homes. Indigenous children were placed in non-Indigenous households and foster care across the country, hundreds, sometimes thousands, of miles away from their families, communities and culture.

“The impacts of the Sixties Scoop are a part of our story as Métis people, and we cannot move forward without addressing them,” stated MNO President Margaret Froh. “This engagement session is an important step in righting the wrongs of the past and helping survivors in their healing journeys.”

In 2017, a successful class action lawsuit brought about a settlement between the Canadian government and First Nations and Inuit affected by the Sixties Scoop. However, this agreement did not include the Métis. Recently, Canada has taken steps to acknowledge Métis survivors in a separate nation-to-nation process and the MNO has been working in collaboration with the Métis National Council and all Métis governments to advance this priority.

A series of workshops throughout the event allowed participants to express their needs and expectations in a safe, respectful space. Counselors and elders were on-site to provide support, and those individuals wishing to document their stories were provided the opportunity to meet with an on-site videographer.

In round table discussions, participants were asked to identify the most important aspects of the reconciliation process and what supports they need to heal. Recommendations included the need for accountability from the Canadian government; restitution; ways of commemorating those affected by the Sixties Scoop and educating the public; and access to healing, counselling and supports systems for survivors.

“No amount of money will fix the impacts of the Sixties Scoop,” said one individual. “There needs to be support systems in place to help us.”

Next steps were also discussed at the engagement session, which outlined what is needed for the negotiation of a new Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) and Framework Agreement with the Canadian government.

Posted June 5, 2019