VANCOUVER – An indigenous leader from British Columbia says the Federal Court-approved settlement of a class action lawsuit for those who attended an Indian residential school during the day will guarantee compensation for those harmed in their life.
Former shishalh chief Garry Feschuk and former Tk’emlúps te Secwepemc chief Shane Gottfriedson filed the lawsuit more than a decade ago seeking justice for day academics abused while in schools, but ineligible for the 2006 agreement for full-time students.
A federal court judge approved the proposed settlement for daytime scholars on September 24 and ruled that the terms, reached earlier this year, are “fair and reasonable.”
In a statement, Feschuk says the compensation process is not yet ready to begin, but it will be simple when it begins, in order to “minimize the burden” on those who make claims.
The survivors will each receive compensation of $ 10,000, an amount that will also go to the property and descendants of those who died before the settlement was reached.
The federal government pledged to invest another $ 50 million in a Day Scholars Revitalization Fund to rebuild the language, culture and community among the First Nations whose children were forced by Canadian authorities to attend schools.
A statement issued last week by Carolyn Bennett, Minister for Crown-Indian Relations, confirms that the class action lawsuit has been separated to allow for faster compensation to survivors and descendants, while the court will continue to hear the part of the lawsuit related to damage to indigenous gangs.
Selina August and Jeanette Jules, who were also plaintiffs in the legal action, said the day students were punished for speaking their language or exercising their culture, as were those forced to live in schools.
Diena Jules, who was only seven years old when she attended the Kamloops Indian residential school, described being physically and verbally abused by nuns and priests, called stupid and pagan, and told to become “whiter”, while the Students from the dorm harassed her because she was allowed to keep her hair long and wear her own clothes.
“I became disconnected from my family and my community. I lost my language, my cultural pride and my own identity,” he said in an interview in June.
A statement posted online by Waddell Phillips, the legal team representing the scholars of the day, said a settlement notice would be sent out soon informing about the process and the start date for making claims.
A Federal Court judge approved the proposed settlement for residential school day students on Sept. 24 and ruled that the terms, reached earlier this year, are “fair and reasonable.” #ResidentialSchools #TRC
“Claimants will only need to complete a simple form and will not need to provide any information about their experiences in residential schools,” the statement said.
The application process was expected to open in early December.
This Canadian Press report was first published on October 5, 2021.
– With files from Teresa Wright