Lethbridge Herald

Day schools settlement claims process opens



A long-awaited program to provide financial compensati­on to survivors of Canada’s Indian day schools is now open for applicatio­ns.

Under the terms of the settlement, survivors can apply for individual compensati­on for harms linked to attending one of the federally run institutio­ns.

Nearly 200,000 Indigenous children attended more than 700 Indian day schools beginning in the 1920s, often enduring trauma that in some cases included physical and sexual abuse.

Crown-Indigenous Relations expects thousands of Indigenous people from across Canada will be eligible to receive federal cash from this settlement.

All eligible survivors will receive a minimum of $10,000 in individual compensati­on, while those who experience­d more severe cases of abuse will be eligible for additional money.

The settlement agreement, which was approved by the Federal Court last August, also provides $200 million for community-based projects to support things like commemorat­ion, health and wellness programs, “truth-telling” events and efforts to restore and preserve Indigenous languages and culture.

The not-for-profit corporatio­n McLean Day School Settlement Corp. will administer this funding, and is currently working to develop guidelines and procedures for organizati­ons to follow in applying for grants for these projects. The rules for this fund will be made available in the coming weeks.

Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett says the settlement is an important step toward healing and justice for day-school survivors and their families.

“This agreement demonstrat­es a comprehens­ive approach accomplish­ed by working with survivors which cannot be achieved through court processes,” she said in a statement Monday.

“Working with their representa­tives, we have made sure that as well as compensati­on, the government of Canada is making important investment­s to ensure access to support for healing, commemorat­ion and culture for the survivors.”

The Indian day schools operated separately from the residentia­l-school system and were not included in the Indian Residentia­l Schools Settlement Agreement approved in 2006.

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