The Manitoba Metis Federation will hold two Engagement Sessions for Metis Survivors of the ‘Sixties Scoop’ in March 2019. “We know our Survivors have suffered and continue to struggle with the trauma experienced at the hands of Canada. The intergenerational impacts are still being felt by our families and Survivors today.” states President David Chartrand, noting that healing the Survivor will heal the family, community and ultimately bring peace to the Metis Nation.
The ‘Sixties Scoop’ scans an era from the 1950s through 1990s during which thousands of Indigenous children were apprehended by Child and Family Services, placed in foster homes and adopted by non-Indigenous families throughout Canada and the United States. Over a year ago, the federal government announced that it would settle numerous civil lawsuits related to the Sixties Scoop initiated by First Nations and Inuit Peoples of Canada.
While the First Nations and Inuit have achieved Reconciliation through civil action lawsuits against Canada, the Metis Nation Government is taking an unprecedented approach to Reconciliation. The Metis Nation has never participated in civil action lawsuits in pursuit of Reconciliation for their Survivors. Rather, The Metis Nation Government has relentlessly pursued nation-to-nation and government-to-government negotiations with Canada, which predates Canada’s announcement in 2017.
“It was never part of our agenda to advance civil class action suits against Canada in the courts. We did not want to see our Metis Citizens being exploited by private lawyers that take approximately 33% of the overall financial settlement part of Reconciliation.” states President David Chartrand of the Manitoba Metis Federation (MMF). Chartrand is also the Vice-President and Minister responsible for Metis Nation Sixties Scoop Reconciliation for the Metis National Council (MNC).
Chartrand confirms that MMF will not receive a dime from any financial settlement reached between Metis Survivors and Canada, nor will the MNC. “It is our duty, our mandate to fight for the rights of our Citizens. Our responsibility to our Metis Citizens does not come at a price.” Chartrand also adds, “As guided by our Elders and all Metis Citizens across the Homeland, we advance Reconciliation on the principles of ‘negotiation before litigation’, and more importantly, having our Metis Survivors guide us throughout the entire Reconciliation process from beginning to end.”
In 2018, Metis Sixties Scoop Survivors gathered at a National Metis Symposium in the heart of the Metis Homeland to begin the Reconciliation process in Winnipeg, MB. Attended by Survivors from across the entire Homeland, they were able to share their stories, provide their guidance and input on what Reconciliation will be for Metis Survivors going forward.
“This is the first time the Métis Nation has embarked on a massive collective effort to reconcile the traumas associated with the Sixties Scoop era for Metis Survivors. The consultations currently taking place across the Metis Homeland is historic and lays the foundation for validating the many stories of trauma experienced by Survivors and rings in a new era of healing that is important in the collective well-being of the Metis Nation”, states Duane Morrisseau-Beck, Senior Advisor for Metis Nation Sixties Scoop Reconciliation. A Survivor himself, Morrisseau-Beck has led several national projects designed for Indigenous people affected by the Sixties Scoop.
A mere five months later, the MNC is in Phase II of Reconciliation with the Metis Survivors. Engagement Sessions will begin within each of the provinces from British Columbia through to Ontario. The goal is to present the findings of the National Symposium, and to seek their input at a regional level on the design and implementation of the framework that will facilitate Reconciliation.
“I want to thank Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and The Honourable Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations, on behalf of Canada for having the foresight and respect of the vital role the Metis Nation plays in the very fabric of province and country.” states President Chartrand. “This long awaited Reconciliation process for our Survivors is testimony to our current federal government’s commitment to right the wrongs of our People and the wrongs of Canadian history. It sheds hope and light on our path as we gain our rightful place as founders of Manitoba and Canada.”
More information on Reconciliation and how Survivors can register for the MMF Sixties Scoop Survivors Engagement Sessions can be obtained by calling the Federation at: (204) 586-8474, or by visiting www.mmf.mb.ca.