EDMONTON — Alberta is crafting a formal apology to Indigenous people for the infamous '60s Scoop.
Children's Services Minister Danielle Larivee says the government will hold six sessions around the province starting later this month to hear from survivors.
Larivee says the information will form the foundation of a formal government apology and guide future actions on reconciliation and healing.
Starting in the 1960s, an estimated 20,000 Indigenous children were taken by child-welfare agents and put into the care of non-Indigenous families in Canada and the United States.
They were taken on the premise that they would receive better care, but were instead stripped of their language, culture and traditions.
Many survivors have also said they were abused by their adoptive families.
In 2015, Manitoba became the first province to formally apologize for the trauma suffered by children removed from their homes.
Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall has said he is ready to apologize at any time or place chosen by the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations that represents First Nations in the province. But he doesn't agree with the federation's request for provincial compensation.
The federal government has already pledged to pay up to $800 million to Indigenous survivors across Canada.
All the Alberta sessions are open to the public, but anyone who can't attend can submit thoughts and ideas online.
Larivee says the meetings are critical.
"Healing can only begin when we truly understand this heartbreaking historical injustice," she said Thursday in a news release. "That's why we need to listen to survivors and families about what a meaningful apology should look like.
"These sessions are an important opportunity to learn from survivors about how the '60s Scoop has impacted Indigenous communities and inform the actions we will take moving forward in the spirit of reconciliation."
Sessions are to begin Jan. 18 in Peace River and continue Feb. 1 in St. Paul, Feb. 7 in Fort McMurray, Feb. 14 in Lethbridge and Feb. 21 in Calgary.
The last one is slated for March 1 in Edmonton.