For Ooknakane Friendship Centre board president Bruce Manuel, the quote “When I grew my hair, I became myself again” resonated at the centre’s showing of the Bi-Giwen: Coming Home exhibition about the Sixties Scoop. Dustin Godfrey/Western News

Exhibit explores dark part of Canadian history

Penticton’s Ooknakane Friendship Centre hosing national exhibition

The Ooknakane Friendship Centre in Penticton is playing host to an important exhibit exploring the history of the Sixties Scoop, but you’ve only got today to come see it.

“We are one of the few sites that will be hosting this exhibit as it is touring around Canada,” said Matthew Barron, executive director of the centre. “We only have it for two days, then it has to go make its journey back east.”

Bi-Giwen: Coming Home – Truth Telling from the Sixties Scoop will only be at the Friendship Centre (146 Ellis St., Penticton) on April 10 and 11, from 2:30 to 6 p.m. each day.

“The Truth and Reconciliation Commission ordered a number of exhibits that spoke about the residential school experience as well as the Sixties Scoop,” said Barron, explaining how the Scoop flowed from the residential schools, in a multi-generational impact that continues through today.

“They were institutionalized at a young age and the ability to be parents was highly compromised. Over two to three generations, these children became parents and struggled with the parenting process,” said Barron. Those struggles resulted in the Scoop, the fallout of which continues.

“We have more Aboriginal children in care than we did in the Sixties Scoop,” said Barron. “We continue to make attempts to right those wrongs, but we keep replicating the same systems.

“The fallout from these well-intended concepts have done drastic harm long term.”

Related: Momentum carries on child welfare issue since PIB march

For Tricia Bates, an employee at the Friendship Centre, the exhibit brought out a lot of emotions. It’s only been a few years since she found out she was one of these children.

“I was part of the Sixties Scoop, where I was raised by a Caucasian family. It was very difficult to find knowledge about my culture, up until now. It is something that needs to be addressed,” said Bates, who adds that as she was growing up, she didn’t learn much about the Scoop.

“I never knew a lot about this stuff. I barely knew about the residential school system,” said Bates. “It was a bit of a shock. It made me really angry that they took beautiful children away from their family and culture, because culture is something that you need to grow up with and be able to feel.

“Otherwise you are just a shell of a human and it is hard to get it back.”

Bates said that being able to walk through the exhibition and hear others share their stories makes her feel less alone, and is helping her on her personal healing journey.

“It is very emotional and just kind of opens your eyes a little bit, when you realize that you are not the only one that has gone through this experience. There are different peoples all over Canada that have similar stories,” she said.

Education and truth-telling are part of the healing process for both Indigenous and non-Indigenous Peoples and foundational to the reconciliation process.

The exhibition explores the experiences of survivors of the Sixties Scoop, which began in the 1960s and continued until the late 1980s, featuring the first-person testimonies of twelve Indigenous survivors of the Scoop, and reflects upon their enduring strength and resilience.

Barron said it’s a huge part of Canadian history that Indigenous people experienced, but many non-Indigenous people have little knowledge of.

“We are really hoping that our non-Indigenous population takes the time to inform themselves and educate themselves on the history of these experiences,” he said.

Ooknakane Friendship Centre is working in partnership with The Legacy of Hope Foundation, and is thankful to them for sharing a segment of the most comprehensive collection of residential schools exhibitions in the world.

The Ooknakane Friendship Centre in Penticton is playing host to an important exhibit exploring the history of the Sixties Scoop, but you’ve only got a couple of days to come see it.

“We are one of the few sites that will be hosting this exhibit as it is touring around Canada,” said Matthew Barron, executive director of the centre. “We only have it for two days, then it has to go make its journey back east.”

Bi-Giwen: Coming Home – Truth Telling from the Sixties Scoop will only be at the Friendship Centre (146 Ellis St., Penticton) on April 10 and 11, from 2:30 to 6 p.m. each day.

“The Truth and Reconciliation Commission ordered a number of exhibits that spoke about the residential school experience as well as the Sixties Scoop,” said Barron, explaining how the Scoop flowed from the residential schools, in a multi-generational impact that continues through today.

“They were institutionalized at a young age and the ability to be parents was highly compromised. Over two to three generations, these children became parents and struggled with the parenting process,” said Barron. Those struggles resulted in the Scoop, the fallout of which continues.

“We have more aboriginals children in care than we did in the Sixties Scoop,” said Barron. “We continue to make attempts to right those wrongs, but we keep replicating the same systems.

“The fallout from these well-intended concepts have done drastic harm long term.”

Related: Momentum carries on child welfare issue since PIB march

Education and truth-telling are part of the healing process for both Indigenous and non-Indigenous Peoples and foundational to the reconciliation process.

The exhibition explores the experiences of survivors of the Sixties Scoop, which began in the 1960s and continued until the late 1980s, featuring the first-person testimonies of twelve Indigenous survivors of the Scoop, and reflects upon their enduring strength and resilience.

Barron said it’s a huge part of Canadian history that Indigenous people experienced, but many non-Indigenous people have little knowledge of.

“We are really hoping that our non-Indigenous population takes the time to inform themselves and educate themselves on the history of these experiences,” he said.

Ooknakane Friendship Centre is working in partnership with The Legacy of Hope Foundation, and is thankful to them for sharing a segment of the most comprehensive collection of Residential Schools exhibitions in the world.

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