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This article was published 19/10/2018 (360 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Métis survivors of the ’60s Scoop are in Winnipeg at a special symposium this weekend to advise leaders on what they want from the Canadian government.
The event at the Fort Garry Hotel will spotlight the Métis, who were never acknowledged to be among the thousands of Indigenous children who were removed from their homes and placed with non-Indigenous families from the 1950s to the 1990s.
Some accounts have put the Métis number at a quarter of all displaced children: as many as 5,000 out of the estimated 22,000 adults seeking redress.
"There will probably be about 100 survivors here, as selected by the provincial Métis governments, to speak on behalf of Métis survivors and families and tell us what would be justice for them, so we can put that together," Manitoba Metis Federation (MMF) president David Chartrand said by phone Friday.
Delegates were picked by Métis groups in British Columbia, Ontario and across the Prairies. Trauma counsellors will be on hand and a video team available to record accounts.
The MMF is hosting the symposium to get direction on a framework to negotiate with the Canadian government. It’s expected to include a strong focus on reconciliation measures, not just financial compensation payments.
There’s a sense of urgency to get a deal done as the clock ticks down to the next federal election in October 2019.
"A year sounds like a long time, but it’s not in politics," Chartrand said. "To me, it’s very important that framework be done as expeditiously as possible.
"The messaging I’m hearing from the Conservatives worries me. At this point, we have a prime minister that cares and ministers that are sincere. They’ve proven themselves. Time is not on our side."
A year ago, Métis and non-status Indian survivors were excluded from an $800-million settlement that ended a number of class-action lawsuits against the provincial and federal governments.
If approved, the settlement would generate payouts in the range of $25,000 to $50,000 per person for status Indians from First Nations and Inuit survivors.
The settlement ran into trouble with survivors who opposed the $75-million cost for legal fees.
This summer, the settlement was held up in court when a senior Ontario judge ruled the fees were "excessive and unreasonable."
One Métis suit was filed in Saskatchewan on the grounds the settlement discriminated against the Métis by leaving them out.
Ottawa has indicated it wants a settlement with the Métis on the issue and Chartrand said that’s what he’s working on, but first needs to hear from people who were part of the Scoop.
Many Scoop survivors who made their way back to Canada as adults reported trauma similar to what happened in residential schools with accounts of physical, emotional and sexual abuse and the connections they lost to family, cultures and languages.
Alexandra is a veteran news reporter who has covered stories for the Winnipeg Free Press since 1987. She held the medical beat for nearly 17 years, and today specializes in coverage of Indigenous-related issues. She is among the most versatile journalists on the paper’s staff.
Updated on Saturday, October 20, 2018 at 8:09 AM CDT: Final