A three-day hearing into a proposed settlement for survivors of Indian Day Schools was scheduled to wrap up Wednesday in Winnipeg.
Federal Court Justice Michael Phelan is deciding whether to approve the settlement for a nation-wide class action lawsuit to compensate survivors for harms they suffered while attending the schools
About 200,000 Indigenous children attended the federally-funded schools across Canada, beginning in the 1920s.
It is believed there are 120,000 to 140,000 potential Day School survivors still living.
The federal government announced last December it had reached an agreement with survivors of the about 700 Indian Day Schools, where students experienced emotional, physical and sexual abuse similar to students who attended Indian Residential Schools.
Indian Day School survivors were not included in a $1.9-billion settlement for Residential School victims reached 2016.
The proposed settlement includes anyone who attended a federal Indian Day School, including First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples.
If the agreement is approved by Justice Phelan, anyone who attended a day school would be eligible to receive $10,000 in individual compensation.
Anyone physically or sexually abused could receive an additional $50,000 to $200,000, depending on the severity of their claim.
The Indian Day School settlement grew out of what was originally a $15-billion class action lawsuit filed in 2009.
Following today’s hearing, there will be a 90-day opt out period for survivors.
If the settlement is accepted, the claims application period will be 2.5 years long.
Grand Chief of the Mohawk Council of Kahnawake Joe Norton knows first-hand about the ill-effects Indian Day Schools had on his people, who live across the St. Lawrence River from Montreal.
He was in Winnipeg to attend the hearing on Monday and is a former student at one of the schools.
I spoke with him Wednesday at his band council office in Kahnawake,Listen