‘60s Scoop survivor finally gets to say ‘Happy Father’s Day’


James Sauve-Bird drove from Regina, Sask., to Prince George, B.C., with his son for a  life-changing moment.

The ‘60s Scoop survivor was set to complete a life-long quest to connect with his family.

Sauve-Bird is Metis-Cree who, as an infant, was placed in foster care during what is called the ’60s Scoop – where over three decades more than 20,000 Indigenous children were apprehended by child welfare agencies and placed in non-Indigenous foster homes or for adoption.

“You don’t know who you are, you don’t know if you’re Indigenous or you’re white. You live your life wondering who you are,” Sauve-Bird told APTN News.

The journey to find his birth parents has been long, but he says he has found supports along the way.

Non-profit group 60s Scoop Legacy of Canada connected him with the network of other survivors.

Ten years ago, he met his mother for the first time – just before she passed away in a hospital in Edmonton.

He said he was glad he had a chance to meet her and built up connections with her side of the family afterwards.

“That’s how I met everyone. I went and I met her, we talked on her bed,” he said. “I just asked her questions about her life and who my dad [is] and she said, ‘It was George Sauve,’ and I said, ‘OK, awesome, thank you for letting me know.”

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A Father’s Day dinner with his son Shay, left, James, George and his wife Rose. Submitted photo.

Last year, Sauve-Bird decided it was time to find his father.

He posted his story on social media with the name his mother shared.

Someone recognized a similar face from his picture and was able to connect him to a man in Prince George.

That man was George Sauve, who had a child he didn’t know about from long ago.

Sauve is married and has four other children.

They spoke over the phone, but according to  Sauve-Bird, there was uncertainty at first.

The two established a connection over the months.

They agreed to meet.

Sauve-Bird, a single dad, took his son on the journey to meet his father for the first time.

The two set off on the 14-hour drive from Regina to Prince George for the Father’s Day weekend.

Sauve-Bird and his father had their first meeting in a Tim Hortons the night before Father’s Day. Picking a location they knew would be open all evening. It was a smart choice because the excitement of meeting turned into a three-hour conversation over coffee.

“It was just nice to sit across from my dad for the first time. It [has] been 48 years and we both looked at each other, and we’re like wow this is great,” said Sauve-Bird.

“He really had a good time. He enjoyed our time together on Father’s Day.”

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Three generations: Shay, James and father George.

Sauve-Bird was excited about the newfound connection with his father, and now he is building relationships online with other relatives.

Along with his son, they will visit family members from his father’s and mother’s side on the drive back to Regina.

New memories he believes will last a lifetime for both of them.

Sauve-Bird shared a message of hope for those in search of their families.

“I just want to tell my ’60s Scoop group that even though I don’t know you guys, I feel you, I care and hoping that your journey can be like mine. There is a lot of positives out there.”

After he returns home, he plans to start arranging a large family reunion in the future.

Video Journalist / Kitimat Village, B.C.

Lee is a video journalist with APTN News, who shoots, reports and edits stories out of northern British Columbia. As a member of the Haisla Nation, Lee is proud to call Kitimat Village home again after living on Vancouver Island for 18 years. He has a passion for storytelling and looks forward to sharing stories through the lens of First Nations people.