Mariette Buckshot and Margaret Swan, left, console each other during the Indian Day school litigation announcement in Ottawa, Tuesday (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press)

Compensation for Indian Day School survivors announced

The Liberal government has taken another step towards righting past wrongs committed against Canada’s Indigenous peoples.

The government announced in December it had reached a settlement with survivors of former Indian Day Schools.

On Tuesday, Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett announced the details.

Garry McLean, the lead plaintiff in the Indian Day Schools court action that was settled in December, presents moccasins to Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett after the announcement. McLean died last month, but a legacy fund has been established in his name as part the agreement, the details of which Bennett announced Tuesday. (Jorge Barrera/CBC)

Former students of the day schools will be eligible to receive from $10,000 to $200,000 each in compensation, depending on the harm or abuse they received.

“This agreement will bring us one step closer to a lasting and meaningful resolution for survivors…of this dark and tragic chapter in Canada’s history,” Bennett said.

Unlike Indian Residential Schools, the estimated 200,000 Indigenous children who attended Indian Day Schools did not reside at the schools, which were run and maintained by the same denominations–Roman Catholic, Church of England, Methodist and Presbyterian–that ran the residential schools.

As in the Residential Schools, many children in the day schools suffered physical and sexual abuse.

In 2006, the federal government reached a settlement with survivors of the residential schools and in 2008 then prime minister Stephen Harper delivered an historic apology in the House of Commons to residential schools survivors.

Crown-Indigenous relations Minister Carolyn Bennett, left, and Claudette Commanda, a First Nations activist and a University of Ottawa law professor, arrive for the Indian Day school litigation announcement in Ottawa, Tuesday, (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press)

The latest agreement is an out-of-court settlement of a $15 billion class-action law suit initiated in 2009 by Garry McLean, who attended the Dog Creek Indian School in Lake Manitoba First Nation.

McLean died in February after devoting his life to advocacy work for First Nations causes.

As part of the Indian Day School agreement, Ottawa agreed to establish the McLean Day School Settlement Corporation for Legacy Projects.

The $200 million fund will be used for “healing, wellness, language, culture and commemoration for class members and their communities.”

With files from CBC, CP, Global, APTN

Categories: Health, Indigenous, Society

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