Res­i­den­tial school com­pen­sa­tion may ben­e­fit day stu­dents

The Prince George Citizen - - FRONT PAGE -

KAM­LOOPS — Three First Na­tions say they have reached a mem­o­ran­dum of un­der­stand­ing with the fed­eral gov­ern­ment that could keep their bid to in­clude day stu­dents in a set­tle­ment for res­i­den­tial school sur­vivors out of court.

The Tk’emlups and Sechelt bands in B.C. launched a class-ac­tion law­suit in 2012 af­ter a set­tle­ment be­tween the gov­ern­ment and about 86,000 res­i­den­tial school sur­vivors ex­cluded day schol­ars, stu­dents who at­tended the schools but did not live at them. They were later joined in the law­suit by the Grand Coun­cil of the Crees in North­ern Que­bec.

The First Na­tions say the mem­o­ran­dum com­mits both sides to re­solve the case with­out go­ing to court by find­ing a fair set­tle­ment in a timely man­ner.

Jo-Anne Got­tfried­son, the Tk’emlups day scholar co-or­di­na­tor, says it’s hoped this de­vel­op­ment will al­low the First Na­tions to avoid a le­gal fight.

“We hope that we will have a mu­tual un­der­stand­ing and if not, there’s still that lit­i­ga­tion process that we can fall back on,” Got­tfried­son told CFJC. “But we’re def­i­nitely hope­ful at this point, be­cause it’s been long over­due and the day schol­ars en­dured just as much as the res­i­den­tial school stu­dents.”

Got­tfried­son es­ti­mates about 70,000 Indige­nous peo­ple qual­ify as day schol­ars.

The Depart­ment of Crown-Indige­nous Re­la­tions and North­ern Af­fairs could not im­me­di­ately com­ment.

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