Bi-Giwen: Coming Home – Truth Telling from the Sixties Scoop

Minister Feehan (right) and Adam North Peigan view Bi-Giwen:Coming Home- Truth Telling From the Sixties Scoop exhibit
Minister Feehan (right) and Adam North Peigan view Bi-Giwen:Coming Home- Truth Telling From the Sixties Scoop exhibit

EDMONTON – A travelling exhibit that tells the history of the Sixties Scoop and its survivors is now on display in Edmonton. The exhibit is part of a $200,000 grant given to the Sixties Scoop Indigenous Society of Alberta to develop public awareness activities, a website and online resources to support Sixties Scoop survivors.

In partnership with the Legacy of Hope Foundation, the society is bringing the Bi-Giwen: Coming Home – Truth Telling from the Sixties Scoop exhibition to various Alberta locations. This first-of-its-kind exhibit shares the experiences of survivors, including 12 personal testimonials of strength and resilience.

The society has also launched a website and is working on a series of online resources to promote awareness and support for the Sixties Scoop survivivors.

“We all have a role to play in our journey towards reconciliation. We can’t undo the unimaginable heartbreak experienced by survivors and their families, but we have an opportunity and a responsibility to increase awareness and build a deep understanding, as we move forward together along the path of reconciliation,” says Richard Feehan, Minister of Indigenous Relations.

The exhibit will be on display in Edmonton, at the Edmonton Aboriginal Seniors Centre, 10107 134 Avenue, and will travel to other locations across the province.

In May 2018, Premier Rachel Notley delivered a formal apology for past practices that led to the removal of Indigenous children from their families, resulting in a loss of culture, identity and connection to their communities. The effects of the Sixties Scoop are still felt by survivors and their families today.

“The apology for the Sixties Scoop was an important step forward in reconciliation and an important step forward toward healing for survivors. The Sixties Scoop was a dark part of Alberta’s history that all Albertans need to be aware of, and this exhibit shares the stories of survivors in their words to help us all better understand what they went through. Through understanding our shared history, we can move forward together to a better future,” states Danielle Larivee, Minister of Children’s Services.

“The Sixties Scoop Indigenous Society of Alberta is proud to launch this powerful and emotional exhibit that describes the legacy and devastating impacts of the Sixties Scoop in Canada. We are grateful for the ongoing support of the Government of Alberta and the partnership with the Legacy of Hope Foundation, as we showcase this exhibit throughout Alberta. The exhibit is an opportunity to share and educate Albertans about the history of Canada’s Indigenous people in relation to the Sixties Scoop,” Adam North Peigan, president, Sixties Scoop Indigenous Society of Alberta.

Background

The Sixties Scoop refers to government practices across Canada from the 1950s to the 1980s that led to an unknown number of First Nations, Métis and Inuit children taken from parents, families and communities by child intervention services and placed with mostly non-Indigenous families. Many of these children experienced abuse, mistreatment and neglect and lost touch with their families, communities, culture and traditional language.

The Sixties Scoop Indigenous Society of Alberta is a non-profit society formed to represent survivors in Alberta, create dialogue and engagement and develop true reconciliation. Board members include representatives from Treaty 6, Treaty 7 and Treaty 8, as well as Inuit and Métis representatives. As survivors themselves, society members are committed to raising awareness and supporting other survivors.

Between January and March 2018, the Government of Alberta worked with the society to conduct engagement sessions across Alberta. The sessions provided an opportunity to listen to survivors and empower them in a respectful and inclusive engagement, which informed the Premier’s apology.

The exhibit, Bi-Giwen: Coming Home – Truth Telling from the Sixties Scoop, will travel to Calgary, Lethbridge, High Level, Peace River, St. Paul, Fort McMurray, Gift Lake Metis Settlement and Fishing Lake Metis Settlement.