(Vancouver) The federal government has reached a $2.8 billion settlement in a class action lawsuit filed by two BC First Nations whose members frequent federal homes.
Posted 1:26pm Updated 4:13pm
Brieanna Charlebois The Canadian Press
Crown Indigenous Relations Secretary Marc Miller announced Saturday that the government has signed an agreement with the plaintiffs, or 325 nations that participated in the Gottfriedson Band’s class action lawsuit.
“Agreements like the one announced today do not erase the past or repair what has been done. What they can do is address the collective damage caused by Canada’s deeply colonial past, which has resulted in the loss of language, culture and heritage,” Minister Miller said.
The original lawsuit originally involved three categories of plaintiffs, but in 2021 all parties agreed to focus their efforts on first reaching a settlement with the survivors and their descendants to ensure they receive compensation while they are alive be able.
Mr Miller said the agreement will be guided by four pillars: the revitalization and protection of indigenous languages, the revitalization and protection of indigenous cultures, the protection and promotion of the heritage and well-being of indigenous communities and their members.
This is the first time Canada has compensated bands and communities as a collective for damages related to boarding schools, he said.
“Reconciliation is not free, we are talking about a lot of money,” the minister reminded. Is that enough? I guess only time will tell, but we know there’s still work to be done. »
Miller said the $2.8 billion will be invested in an independent, not-for-profit trust, adding that further terms related to the settlement will be released next month.
Former Shíshálh chief Garry Feschuk and former Tk’emlúps te Secwepemc chief Shane Gottfriedson began the process more than a decade ago to demand justice for day students who were abused at boarding schools but not for the 2006 full-time settlements Question came students.
“Today, we represent 325 Indigenous nations across Canada and have developed a settlement plan that allows nations to work toward the four pillars,” Gottfriedson said.
“This agreement allows our indigenous nations to control this process: we will manage and distribute the funds, we will make them available to the 325 nations in a fair and objective way. »
Individual nations will decide which of the four pillars to focus on and develop implementation plans.
Approval of the deal will take place in federal court between February 27 and March 1, and then an appeal period must pass before the funds are transferred to the trust.
Note to readers: In an earlier version, The Canadian Press incorrectly reported that the class action lawsuit was brought by members of a British Columbia First Nation who attended federal residences as day students. In fact, the lawsuit was filed by two First Nations for all boarding students, not just day students.