Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Treated 'Like We Were Pets:' Manitoba Formally Apologizes for '60S Scoop

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Treated 'Like We Were Pets:' Manitoba Formally Apologizes for '60S Scoop

Article excerpt

Manitoba apologizes for '60s Scoop

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WINNIPEG - Marlene Orgeron and her brothers were seized from her Manitoba reserve when she was three.

Her uncle protested and was told by social workers he would be arrested if he tried to stop them. Orgeron says she was robbed of her identity, taken to New Orleans where she was abused mentally and physically by a white family.

"I grew up wanting to die, wanting the pain to end," a crying Orgeron recalled before a gathering of other adoptees at the Manitoba legislature. "I spent the last 20 years putting myself back together."

On Thursday, Manitoba Premier Greg Selinger apologized to Orgeron and thousands of other victims.

"I would like to apologize on behalf of the Province of Manitoba for the '60s Scoop -- the practice of removing First Nation, Metis and Inuit children from their families and placing them for adoption in non-Indigenous homes, sometimes far from their home community, and for the losses of culture and identity to the children and their families and communities," Selinger told a packed gallery of adoptees, supporters and aboriginal leaders.

"With these words of apology and regret, I hope that all Canadians will join me in recognizing this historical injustice."

It is the first apology from a Canadian province recognizing a period of history many see as akin to the dark chapter of Indian residential schools. An estimated 20,000 aboriginal children were taken by child-welfare agents starting in the 1960s and placed with non-aboriginal families.

That practice -- which stripped those children of their language, culture and traditions -- has left "intergenerational scars" similar to those of residential schools, Selinger said. Manitoba will raise the '60s Scoop at the next roundtable on missing and murdered aboriginal women and ensure it will be included in the provincial school curriculum, he promised. …

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