WINNIPEG – Manitoba is set to become the first province to formally apologize to aboriginal adoptees today.
Premier Greg Selinger is scheduled to deliver the apology in the legislature following an honouring ceremony of ’60s Scoop victims.
Thousands of aboriginal children were taken by child-welfare agents from their homes starting in the 1960s and placed with non-aboriginal families.
Selinger has said the apology will acknowledge damage done to those who lost their culture and their families.
For some adoptees, the apology comes too late.
Christine Merasty says an apology won’t give her back time with her biological grandparents or do much to quell the anger at being taken away from her mother as a baby.
“It’s too late,” she said. “You apologizing to me doesn’t change the fact that you hurt my grandparents and my mom.”
Adoptees have been fighting for recognition of their ordeal, calling for a formal apology and a commission similar to that held regarding Indian residential schools. Class-action lawsuits have been filed in Ontario, Manitoba, Alberta and Saskatchewan.
Aboriginal leaders have said they hope the apology is accompanied by action.
Grand Chief David Harper, who represents northern Manitoba First Nations, said the province has to do more to reunited families, counsel victims and call for a reconciliation commission for adoptees.