Sixties Scoop survivors prepare for Sask. premier’s apology

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As Saskatchewan Sixties Scoop survivors prepare for Premier Scott Moe to deliver an apology, those that helped survivors share their stories are split on what it means.

On Monday morning at the legislature in Regina, Moe will make a long promised apology for the government’s role in separating Indigenous children from their culture, language, families and identity. It is an apology Rod Belanger is not ready to accept.

« I’m not in favour of the apology at this time. I’m doing this because I’m wanting our people to get back a part of their voice, » Belanger said.

In the fall, the province partnered with the Sixties Scoop Indigenous Society of Saskatchewan (SSISS) to hold sharing circles. The SSISS made a number of recommendations to the province and within weeks the province announced it would deliver the apology.

The Sixties Scoop saw saw tens of thousands of Indigenous children across Canada taken from their families and adopted out across the country and the world, mostly to white families, between the 1960s and the 1980s.

Belanger, 57, a member of the SSISS, was apprehended at around age 3. He was fostered by a white family, and said he experienced physical abuse and ended up in a group home at age 12.

Belanger met his birth mother and sister when they showed up at a neighbourhood pool in Regina.

« I was a little bit shocked seeing my mother and sister standing before me, » Belanger said.

He eventually met his father and other relatives.

« There is a honeymoon stage when we are reunited with our families and then we find out we’re totally different people. »

He said there are some fairytale endings for survivors who reunite with their birth families but this is not the norm.

Belanger said his difficult upbringing led him to crime and incarceration. He said he was saved when he got involved in traditional dance.

Apology almost split survivor group

Belanger said the SSISS leadership almost split during the course of eight sharing circles for survivors that were held across Saskatchewan.

« Half of us felt they were going to get something out of the apology and half of us felt ‘this is a bunch of bulllshit,' » he said.

« The apology is a huge controversy right now. »

He said the government needs more time to realize what has happened and understand what it is apologizing for.

Belanger will dance at Monday’s apology even though he said he is not in favour. (Submitted to CBC)

Hearing the apology ‘not easy,’ says survivor

Melissa Parkyn considers herself lucky compared to other Sixties Scoop survivors.

« I’ve heard lots of stories and I was lucky to grow up in a good home, but just the only thing was losing my culture and my language and that identity loss. It took a lot of work for me to work on myself and who I was, » said Parkyn, co-chair of the SSISS.

Parkyn was born in North Battleford, one of 14 kids to a single mother. She was adopted out as part of the Sixties Scoop at six months and grew up in Alberta. She was raised by a white family. Parkyn found her birth family when she was 18.

« I didn’t know I was Cree. I didn’t know my First Nations background, my culture, my language, » said Parkyn.

She said she knows hearing the apology « is not going to be easy. »

Melissa Parkyn was adopted at six months to a white family. She reunited with her birth family after graduating high school. (Submitted by Melissa Parkyn)

Parkyn said many survivors could not attend the sharing circles; others struggled to tell their painful story.

« There were some that couldn’t even walk through the door. They felt it was so hard to tell their stories. They just handed over a letter; that’s how hard it was to walk inside and tell their story, »

She said others chose not to attend and some don’t want the apology at all.

« There are still lots of Sixties Scoop survivors that never came home. And if they did find their way home, they didn’t have a chance to meet their family or they’re still looking. It’s really hard for them to bring up their stories because they’re so tragic, and the abuse was not good at all. »

Both Parkyn and Belanger want the province’s actions to extend past the formal apology. Their recommendations include hosting more sharing circles, adding the Sixties Scoop to school curriculum and releasing apprehension records.

Saskatchewan will be the third province to issue an apology, following Manitoba and Alberta. In May, Alberta Premier Rachel Notley delivered her apology. She closed by saying sorry in seven Indigenous languages. 

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Saskatchewan premier to apologize to Sixties Scoop survivors in January

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Premier Scott Moe will apologize to Sixties Scoop survivors early in the new year, but there will be no monetary compensation.

The apology is scheduled for Monday, Jan. 7, at 10 a.m. CST in the Rotunda of the Legislature Building.​ It will be preceded by a pipe ceremony.

The announcement comes following a series of six sharing circles across the province that were held to inform the Government of Saskatchewan’s apology.

These sharing circles were co-ordinated by the Sixties Scoop Indigenous Survivors of Saskatchewan (SSISS), with support from the Government of Saskatchewan.

Premier Scott Moe will deliver an apology to Sixties Scoop survivors on Jan. 7. (CBC)

The Sixties Scoop saw thousands of Indigenous children taken from their homes from the 1960s to the 1980s and placed mostly with white families.

Earlier this year, Saskatchewan’s social services minister said the province hoped to apologize to Sixties Scoop survivors by the end of this year.

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This Cookie Scoop Will Fool Your Friends Into Thinking the Rest of Your Life Is Perfect Too

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My first purchase with my HomeGoods employee discount in the early-2000s was a cookie scoop. I had just watched Ina Garten make chocolate chunk cookies on Barefoot Contessa and admired the precise, equal-sized dollops that she dropped across the baking sheet. I needed to have perfect cookies.

It wasn’t just about the way they’d look all piled just so on a platter at the cookie swap. This uniformity, she informed me, would also ensure that the cookies bake evenly, and thusly, taste like perfection too. So, I lingered in the baking aisle in the middle of a work day, bought a scoop as close to a 1¾-inch diameter as I could find (following Ina’s very specific instructions), went home, and started making dough. I’ve used it to bake dozens of meticulous cookies ever since.

The OXO medium cookie scoop ($14 on Amazon) is my platonic ideal of a scooper, thanks to its built-in wiper—a reliable mechanism that releases the dough in a no-stick kind of way. Thanks to this little helper, I can get close to a dozen cookies onto a parchment-lined baking sheet in two minutes, which means I’m that much closer to brown butter and toffee chocolate chip cookies. And since it has a comfortable grip, I don’t get a hand cramp while baking big batches of holiday cookies.

cookie scoop 1

Photo by Chelsie Craig

This medium size is perfect for most standard cookies and also larger meatballs!

But cookies aren’t all that I make with my trusted scoops. Yes. Plural. I have a collection now. There’s the larger one with a 3 Tbsp. capacity (and a price of $15 on Amazon), that’s the perfect size for filling muffin or cupcake tins, or scooping ice cream for sundaes. A smaller one with 2 tsp. capacity ($13 on Amazon) is ideal for scooping out the insides of potatoes for the twice-baked kind, or used as a melon baller. And that medium scoop (about 1½ Tbsp.), my first love, scoops impeccable Sunday Sauce meatballs, in addition to loads and loads of cookies.

0417 Brown Butter Toffee ChocolateChip Cookie group

Photo by Alex Lau, styling by Sean Dooley

I love when all of my favorite brown butter and toffee chocolate chip cookies are all the same size.

Everything in my life might not be flawless, but at least all the small round things can be.

All products featured on Bonappetit.com are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

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Last of the Sixties Scoop sharing circles comes to a close in Saskatchewan

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As the Saskatchewan government moves towards an apology, the last of the Sixties Scoop sharing circles — a province-wide process meant to give survivors a chance to share their stories — came to a close Sunday.

An estimated 20,000 Indigenous and Métis children were removed from their home communities and adopted by primarily white families across Canada and into the United States from the 1950s to the 1980s.

In October, sharing circles began for survivors in six communities throughout the province. It’s part of the government’s efforts in working with the Sixties Scoop Indigenous Society of Saskatchewan (SSISS) to observe past wrongs and use what officials hear to form an apology.


READ MORE:
’60s Scoop sharing circles to guide provincial government’s apology

For many, the past two months have been part of a healing journey, with many survivors saying that by telling their stories, they have been helped in finding their voice and identity.

“It was through a lot of work personally that I had to come face-to-face with abandonment issues with working at just being a better person, not being co-dependent,” said survivor Norine Tourangeau.

It’s taken a lot for Tourangeau to get to a place where she’s comfortable sharing her story. She was taken from her family at age 10 and the impact of the trauma still lingers.

“I just remember getting the haircuts the same as my younger siblings, we were placed in newspapers with the adoptive Indian, Métis program,” Tourangeau said.


READ MORE:
Sask. ’60s Scoop survivors call on the need for healing programs in addition to apology

Now working as an educator, Tourangeau says the upcoming apology from the government will not fully right the wrongdoings of the past, but will shed light on colonization and its impact.

“It’s inter-generational, it even affects the students we teach today,” Tourangeau said. “Some of them whose families are still going through a difficult time and dealing with various social issues and certainly poverty being the biggest factor for creating obstacles.”

“If and when we can address those issues, we can impact policies, hopefully to create more support for children and families.”

The government of Saskatchewan says an apology is expected by the end of the year. But with a report expected by SSISS next week on their findings, some say the timelines are tight.


READ MORE:
Sask. minister hopes ’60s Scoop apology can come by year’s end

“People are watching us, we need to get out there,” said board member Rod Belanger. “We could have done a lot more work than this if we would have had more time. For me, this shortened period of giving this apology doesn’t make sense to me.”

“There’s 150 years of policy and acts imposed upon Indigenous people, and this apprehension era that we come from and the damage that it’s done, the disruption of our families and our identities and so on and so forth — the apology, two months of work and then the apology, it doesn’t make sense.”

While Sunday brought the sharing circles to a close, survivors say more work needs to be done, even with an apology. They would like more support to preserve their culture and language and ultimately to reduce the record high levels of Indigenous children in foster care.

 

 

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Attempt to appeal ’60s Scoop settlement tossed for ‘extreme’ lack of evidence

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A last-ditch effort to challenge the court-approved settlement of the ’60s Scoop class action failed Friday when a judge tossed the novel attempt as lacking any substance.

In his decision, Judge John Laskin of the Federal Court of Appeal said the applicants had provided no support for their highly unusual motion seeking leave to appeal the settlement.

« The evidence filed by the applicants is inadequate in the extreme, » Laskin wrote.

The ruling, barring any further court machinations, paves the way for implementation of the $750-million class-action settlement. The federal government had said it could not proceed with payouts to victims pending finality in the court proceedings.

The request to appeal the agreement finalized over the summer rather than opt out — fewer than a dozen class members did so — came from a group of 11 claimants who said they were Scoop victims, although two of the plaintiffs subsequently dropped out of the proceeding.

They filed their application through a law firm that had been shut out of the $75 million in legal fees agreed to as part of the class-action settlement.

Among other things, they alleged they were excluded from the process that led to court approval of the agreement that would pay survivors as much as $50,000 a piece for the harms done when they, as children, were taken from their Indigenous families and placed with non-Indigenous ones. They also expressed unhappiness over the fees awarded to the lawyers who negotiated the deal.

Laskin noted the applicants had failed to show they were survivors of the ’60s Scoop and therefore members of the class. Nor did they provide evidence that an appeal of the settlement would be in the best interests of survivors, he said.

Seeking legal costs

One of the applicants, Joan Frame, of Hamilton, had alleged to The Canadian Press that the lawyers who negotiated the settlement — some of whom worked on the case for free for the better part of a decade — « resorted to trickery » to get the agreement.

« To allow people to win illegally and make money off our backs and suffering again should not be allowed to happen, » Frame had said.

Laskin also took issue with such assertions, saying the applicants had offered no evidence in support.

While it is normal in litigation for the losing party to be on the hook for the legal costs incurred by the winners, the winning lawyers are seeking costs personally from the lawyer who filed the appeal motion given the serious misconduct allegations he made against them.

Laskin declined to award costs until Jai Singh Sheikhupura with Vancouver-based Watson Goepel has had an opportunity to make submissions. He has until Nov. 19 to do so.

« We are pleased that the Federal Court of Appeal has cleared away the last impediment to the settlement being implemented, » said Kirk Baert, one of the lawyers involved in the class action. « Now the settlement funds can flow to the survivors as intended. »

The $75 million in legal fees, which the federal government agreed to pay to four legal firms separately from the compensation to the Scoop survivors, became a flashpoint earlier this year when Ontario Superior Court of Justice Edward Belobaba said they were far too high.

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Sixties Scoop survivors share their stories with Saskatchewan government – Saskatoon

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The Sixties Scoop Indigenous Society is making its way across Saskatchewan this fall and was in Saskatoon on Saturday.

A non-profit society formed by a group of First Nations, Metis and non-status individuals, Sixties Scoop survivors had the opportunity to share their stories with members of the Saskatchewan government.


READ MORE:
Sask. minister hopes ’60s Scoop apology can come by year’s end

“The Sixties Scoop era was a time where Indigenous children were apprehended either from their reserves or apprehended in the city centres,” said Rob Belanger of Sixties Scoop Indigenous Society of Saskatchewan.

“It has impacted our people greatly as far as separating the child from the family.”

The society provided sharing circles over the weekend to encourage substantive and respectful conversations.


READ MORE:
Métis ‘60s Scoop survivors work toward reconciliation with government at Winnipeg symposium

Between the 1950s and the 1990s, an estimated 20,000 Indigenous and Metis children were taken and sent to live with white families.

Regina will host the last sharing circle at the end of November, where Premier Scott Moe, along with other provincial dignitaries, are expected to attend.

The Saskatchewan government is planning to hold a ceremony by the end of the year to officially apologize to Sixties Scoop victims.

WATCH: Alberta government’s Sixties Scoop Apology Engagement series






© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Court action launched against Sixties Scoop settlement agreement lawyer fees

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A dozen Sixties Scoop survivors filed court action this month aimed at challenging the $37.5 million in fees awarded to three law firms involved in the Sixties Scoop settlement agreement.

The group has applied to the Federal Court of Appeal in Vancouver seeking to challenge a Federal Court order that approved lawyers’ fees of $37.5 million to be split between Koskie Minsky, Merchant Law Group and Klein Lawyers.

They’re arguing the change effectively amended the $875 million settlement agreement, something that should have triggered a notice to class members along with a new hearing and round of submissions.

« The amendment still has to be approved by the class; that is called due process, » said Jai Singh Sheikhupura of the Vancouver law firm Watson Goepel, who is representing the survivors.

Jai Singh Sheikhupura, of the Vancouver law firm Watson Goepel, who filed the leave to appeal. (Watson Goepel)

Twelve Sixties Scoop survivors are named as plaintiffs in the court action, but one has since dropped out.

« It is important to stand up against this settlement because it’s our time to say we are not going to be treated like this, » said Joan Frame, a Sixties Scoop survivor from Hamilton who was adopted from Samson Cree Nation, Alta., and is one of the plaintiffs.

« Canada wants to steamroll over us into taking a settlement that they know absolves them of paying out tons of money. »

Filing alleges legal gambit used to preserve fees

The court action centres on the chain of events following a June 20 ruling by Ontario Superior Court Justice Edward Belobaba who found the lawyer fees in the settlement to be « excessive. » 

The $875 million settlement agreement set aside $750 million for all status First Nations and Inuit children placed into foster care or adopted by a non-Indigenous parent between 1951 and 1991.

The agreement puts $50 million toward a Sixties Scoop Healing Foundation and the remaining $75 million was earmarked for lawyers’ fees. Because the settlement stemmed from an Ontario class action lawsuit, lawyers who acted in Federal Court would collect half the fee total — $37.5 million — while the other half would go to the lawyers who had acted in Ontario Superior Court.

Belobaba, who wanted the fees reduced by half overall and the federal class lawyers’ portion substantially reduced, said the fee issue should be separated from the rest of the Sixties Scoop deal to avoid jeopardizing the whole agreement.

In July, the three firms involved in the federal part of the settlement agreement — ​Koskie Minsky, Merchant Law Group and Klein Lawyers — agreed to amend the settlement agreement to « de-link » the fee approval process from the rest of the deal.

Sixties Scoop survivor Joan Frame is one of several plaintiffs involved in court action against Sixties Scoop settlement agreement. (Joan Frame)

On Aug. 2, Federal Court Justice Michael Phelan issued an order approving $35.7 million in fees to be split between the three law firms involved in the federal part of the case.

On Sept. 10, Phelan then ruled he had had no jurisdiction to decide on the fees which were previously approved by Federal Court Justice Michel Shore on May 11. The $37.5 million in fees remained unchanged.

Sheikhupura argues class action rules were broken during this process and that the legal manoeuvring was aimed at neutralizing Belobaba’s concerns by taking the federal portion of the fees out of his jurisdiction.

« Essentially, what has been de-linked is the jurisdiction of the courts with respect to the fee approval and not the fees from the settlement, » said the filing.

« The federal representative counsel… have demonstrated that their interest in obtaining the maximum amount in legal fees was most important…over and above the interests of the class. »

Sixties Scoop settlement ‘widely supported’

Justice Canada said it took no position on the case, according to a letter filed with the Federal Court Tuesday.

The letter, written by Justice Canada lawyer Catharine Moore, warned an appeal process would delay the implementation of the settlement agreement which includes eventual payouts to survivors — which could range from $22,000 to $50,000.

Moore wrote that only two Sixties Scoop survivors had withdrawn from the settlement agreement. The opt-out deadline expired Wednesday.

« There is no doubt the settlement is widely supported, » wrote Moore.

« The only opposition comes from this application brought by a handful of individuals who have provided no evidence that they are even class members. »

Moore wrote that if the court was inclined to refuse the motion, it should take the « extraordinary step » of suspending the decision and allow a « notice of abandonment » that would prevent a further appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada.

Koskie Minsky said in its own filing that the leave to appeal was based on « specious grounds » and that « further proceedings would constitute a gross waste of more judicial resources. »

The firm said de-linking the fees was an « administrative amendment » to the settlement agreement that did not make any substantive changes to the deal.

The firm requested the court dismiss the application and apply costs against Sheikhupura for « levying serious and false allegations » and « continuing unmeritorious collateral attacks against decisions of the Federal Court. »

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