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In the News - Archives: 2017-03

Below is a list of articles, with summary, about Indian residentials schools, the IAP and other related news.

Please follow the link to the original story for the complete article.

This information may not be available in your language of choice as it comes from third party sources.


Indigenous caucus summons Dryden senator

Published: March 31, 2017 - Added: March 31, 2017 - Publication: TB News Watch


The move follows a letter Rusnak issued on the caucus' behalf on Mar. 9, calling for Beyak to issue an apology, for her to be removed from the Senate Standing Committee on Aboriginal Peoples, and for her to resign her seat in the Senate.

It also comes a day after representatives of Treaty #3 and Nishnawbe Aski Nation issued a joint statement calling for Beyak to step down.

"You cannot continue to speak on behalf of Indigenous people when you have made no effort to speak to the Indigenous members that sit in the House of Commons and are working tirelessly toward reconciliation," Rusnak's new letter reads. 

"We will not remain silent as you continue to present a very harmful perspective on the history of Indigenous people in our country." 

Speaking to the letter, Rusnak expressed empathy with some of the reactions he has heard from those who lived through residential schools and are still living in the shadow of the policy's legacy.

"I've seen some of the comments from survivors of residential schools. They're right to have the same reaction we did as a caucus: to be extremely shocked and disappointed." 

Sixties Scoop survivors meet with Alberta ministers to discuss apology for past wrongs

Published: March 29, 2017 - Added: March 30, 2017 - Publication: APTN


A group of 60s Scoop survivors met with two Alberta cabinet ministers to give the government their thoughts on what would be in a provincial apology for having torn them away from their families.

Alberta Minister of Indigenous Relations Richard Feehan and, Danielle Larivee, minister of Child and Family Services held a meeting with five survivors at the legislature Tuesday.

Sharon Gladue-Paskimin was in the meeting – the Cree-born woman was six years old when she was adopted into a Caucasian family in Saskatchewan 42 years ago.

She is one of an estimated 20,000 children from across the country who were torn from their families and adopted out into non-Indigenous familes in the 1960s in what is commonly called the 60s scoop.

Assimilation Isn't A 'Good Intention' Unless You're White

Published: March 29, 2017 - Added: March 30, 2017 - Publication: Huffington Post

Link http://

Senator Lynn Beyak, a member of the Canadian senate committee on Aboriginal People, was criticized for saying there were some "good things" about residential schools, where an estimated 150,000 indigenous children were forcibly removed from their communities -- where some 6, 000 children died due to malnourishment or disease.

Her rhetoric is more common than most people know. She criticized the Truth and Reconciliation Commission for not focusing on "the good" of "well-intentioned" institutions. The fallout sparked social media outrage, along with kind requests that she brush up on her history.

To this she stated, "There are two sides to every story," and then she talked about her friend, an "Aboriginal fellow and his wife," who have familiarized her with the native experience. The white icing on the cake was when she stated that "the best way to heal is to move forward together. Not to blame, not to point fingers, not to live in the past."

Senator Murray Sinclair responds to Lynn Beyak's defence of residential schools

Published: March 29, 2017 - Added: March 30, 2017 - Publication: CBC News


Senator Murray Sinclair says preserving the record of the wrongdoing committed under the Indian residential school system is the best way to fight back against those who deny its negative impact on Indigenous people.

Sinclair, who was the chief commissioner of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, made the comments to Anna Maria Tremonti, host of CBC Radio's The Current Tuesday evening.

"If we can preserve that record for future generations, then these deniers will have a diminishing population of people who will believe them," Sinclair said

"People tend to forget that there have always been those who are deniers of history and they deny history for their own reasons. They deny, perhaps, because they're slow-minded and dim-witted, but more importantly it's because I think they believe in a certain delusion about our history that they are unwilling to give up."

Sinclair's comments follow a firestorm of controversy around Conservative Senator Lynn Beyak, who sits on the Senate's Aboriginal people's committee.

The Ontario senator spoke in defence of the "well-intentioned" people who ran the residential school system and said the commission's report was negatively skewed and "didn't focus on the good."

Beyak has repeatedly said she stands by her comments and recently said she had "suffered" alongside residential school survivors.

Interview with St. Anne Indian Residential School Claimant K-10106: Betrayal, again

Published: March 29, 2017 - Added: March 30, 2017 - Publication: APTN


Claimant K-10106 sat by a hotel room window overlooking Toronto’s downtown cityscape but their mind was miles and years away, up Ontario’s James Bay coast to St. Anne’s Indian residential school and the crushing of childhood.

K-10106 can’t be identified by name as a result of ongoing litigation, but the survivor from St. Anne’s wants to make it clear the continued battles before Ontario’s courts are not about narrow definitions of jurisdiction and settlement law, but about pain in the flesh, blood and soul.

“Who was done this injustice? It’s not just a number. To everybody else it is just a number, but this person is a living person with emotions, rights,” said K-10106, who attended St. Anne’s from 1969 to 1972.

In an IAP hearing the survivor gives testimony of their suffering, the government presents its case often trying to limit the compensation payouts and an adjudicator, a quasi-judge, decides the matter.

K-10106’s IAP hearing was held in Ottawa on February 15, 2011, at the Holiday Inn.

K-10106 found the lawyer with the law firm Nelligan O’Brien Payne in a booklet provided by the IAP Secretariat.

Alberta poised to apologize to Sixties Scoop survivors

Published: March 28, 2017 - Added: March 29, 2017 - Publication: CBC News

Link http://

Alberta could become the second province to apologize to the Indigenous families broken up in the Sixties Scoop. 

In the 1960s, and for 20 years thereafter, many Indigenous children across the country were taken from their families and placed in non-Indigenous foster homes. 

A group of them in Alberta met Tuesday with provincial Indigenous Relations Minister Richard Feehan to request a formal apology. 

The minister has said he's open to the idea and that he intended to find out while sitting down with the Sixties Scoop survivors how to make the apology meaningful. 

"Our intention is not just to respond to his immediate request for an apology," Feehan said. "But actually work with the community around what is an apology and what does that look like, and how do you know when you've actually had an apology that makes sense?"

NAN, Treaty 3 leaders call for senator's resignation

Published: March 28, 2017 - Added: March 29, 2017 - Publication: TB News Watch


THUNDER BAY -- Grand chiefs of Nishnawbe Aski Nation and Treaty #3 are calling for Senator Lynn Beyak to resign, following comments she made that cast a silver lining on the legacy of residential schools.

"Senator Beyak’s repeated comments defending the Indian Residential School system are a national insult and unacceptable for a member of the Senate of Canada. Her callous dismissal of the horrors of the Residential School experience is unbefitting a member of the Senate, and today we join the growing calls for her immediate resignation,” said NAN Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler in a release. 

“Her misguided statements, including comparisons of her suffering to those who were forced to attend Residential Schools, are an insult to survivors and all the children who were lost. This makes a mockery of the Government of Canada’s efforts to move toward reconciliation.”  

Ottawa begins settlement talks in Sixties Scoop cases

Published: March 27, 2017 - Added: March 28, 2017 - Publication: The GLobe and Mail


The federal government has begun settlement negotiations in what is known as the Sixties Scoop as class-action lawyers across Canada jockey to represent First Nations people who were removed from their homes when they were children and adopted into non-Indigenous families.

The Indigenous Affairs department has opted not to appeal a court decision last month in which a judge found the government failed to protect the cultural identity of thousands of Indigenous children in Ontario. The lawyers in that class-action case – initiated by Marcia Brown Martel, who is the chief of the Beaverhouse First Nation – are pressing ahead to obtain court-ordered compensation.

The government, meanwhile, met with lawyers and other stakeholders in late February to start negotiations in 18 Sixties Scoop cases, including the Brown Martel class action, in what it says will be “an expedited process for a national resolution” to what could be a potentially costly chapter in Canadian history.

The Brown Martel case was limited to children who were taken from their homes on an Ontario First Nation between 1965 and 1984. Ms. Brown Martel’s lawyers say they have evidence that the suit, which is the only Sixties Scoop one in Canada so far to be certified as a class action, covers 16,000 survivors.

Merchant Law Group, in the meantime, has filed a separate case in Ontario against both the federal and provincial governments on behalf of what is says is “the large majority of children” who were part of the Sixties Scoop but not covered by the Brown Martel action.

Merchant has also filed cases on behalf of Sixties Scoop victims in Quebec, Nova Scotia and the three northern territories, as well as Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba where it is competing with similar claims launched by Toronto firm Koskie Minsky.

Indigenous students claim sexual abuse at Catholic day school in Manitoba

Published: March 27, 2017 - Added: March 27, 2017 - Publication: CBC News


In a case with striking similarities to testimony made by residential school survivors, two Indigenous adult women say they were repeatedly sexually abused by clergy at a Catholic day school in Manitoba they were forced to attend as children.

And now they've launched a lawsuit against the Archdiocese of St. Boniface, the two now-deceased men they say were responsible, the province and other defendants.

Both women — one now 67 and Status Indian, the other a 63-year-old Mé​tis woman — attended the same elementary school in Bloodvein, Man., about 200 kilometres north of Winnipeg, from about 1956 until the mid-1960s.

Their lawyer believes the two men named in the case were predators.

"I wouldn't be surprised to find out there were others that suffered as well," said Ludwig.

He said as part of the class action suit, he is looking for other possible Indigenous victims who are either status or non-status, who attended the school from 1940 to 1980.

Court urged to solve "mystery" of hidden Indian residential school documents

Published: March 24, 2017 - Added: March 27, 2017 - Publication: The Hamilton Spectator


TORONTO — The courts must clear up the mystery of why the federal government withheld thousands of relevant documents from survivors who sought compensation for their horrific abuse at a notorious Indian residential school, a judge was told Friday.

In calling for a wide-ranging investigation into the nondisclosure, lawyer Michael Swinwood said one of the plaintiffs in the case was retraumatized by the initial denial of her compensation claim.

"There's something amiss in relation to the nonproduction of these documents," Swinwood told Ontario Superior Court Justice Paul Perell. "The court needs to know why is it that we're in this situation."

Two survivors of St. Anne's residential school in Fort Albany, Ont., are trying to persuade Perell to order the probe into the documents that flowed from a lengthy criminal investigation into problems at the school. The documents record details of the sexual and physical abuse of about 1,000 children who attended the school.

The settlement of a class action related to all residential schools in Canada established the independent adjudication process to hear compensation claims. One of the St. Anne's survivors, K-10106, hired a law firm to represent her.

Ontario law firms allegedly sat on documents supporting residential school clients abuse claims

Published: March 22, 2017 - Added: March 22, 2017 - Publication: APTN


Two Ontario law firms allegedly failed to produce documents in their possession that could have helped their Indian residential school survivor clients during compensation hearings for abuse suffered at a notorious institution known for using an electric chair on students, according to a document filed with an Ontario court.

The two firms—Nelligan O’Brien Payne and Wallbridge, Wallbridge—are named in a request for directions filed with the Superior Court of Ontario as part of ongoing litigation related to the handling of St. Anne’s Indian residential school abuse claims by the Independent Assessment Process (IAP).

A hearing on the case is scheduled for Friday in Toronto.

The request for directions, filed by St. Anne’s residential school survivor Edmund Metatawabin and another survivor known as K-10106, seeks to have the court investigate whether the non-disclosure of documents constituted a breach of the settlement agreement. The court action also seeks to compel Ottawa to disclose remaining documents related to previous St. Anne’s related litigation and settle several other matters related to the IAP and the handing of hundreds of abuse claims by survivors of the institution.

Lawyers representing Nelligan O’Brien Payne and Wallbridge, Wallbridge denied the allegations.

Nothing good about residential school system, Anglican Church tells Senator Beyak

Published: March 20, 2017 - Added: March 21, 2017 - Publication: CBC


Leaders of the Anglican Church of Canada have penned a strongly worded letter to Lynn Beyak, the Conservative senator who recently mounted a defence of the Indian residential school system, to denounce her remarks and take ownership of the atrocities committed in the church-run schools.

In a letter sent Monday, church leaders said they were "dismayed" that Beyak would try and shed a positive light on the system, telling her, rather, "the overall view is grim. It is shadowed and dark; it is sad and shameful."

"Senator Beyak, you are quite right in saying that for a small minority of survivors, their personal experiences of residential school were 'good.' But in much greater numbers, the personal experiences of children who were housed in those schools were 'bad — very bad in fact," the letter, written by the Most Rev. Fred Hiltz, the archbishop and primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, the Right Rev. Mark MacDonald, the national Indigenous Anglican bishop, and the church's general secretary, Michael Thompson, said.

Senator defends pro-residential school comments amid further criticism

Published: March 16, 2017 - Added: March 17, 2017 - Publication: The Globe and Mail


The senator who has been criticized for lauding what she says was the “abundance of good” to come out of Canada’s Indian residential schools says her speech was intended to point out that misguided federal spending has failed to improve the social condition of many Indigenous people.

The voice mailbox at Conservative Senator Lynn Beyak’s office has been full since last week when she was broadly condemned for an address in the Red Chamber in which she talked about the “kindly and well-intentioned men and women … whose remarkable work, good deeds and historical tales in the residential schools go unnoticed.”

But Ms. Beyak, who said she will not be resigning despite calls for her to do so, issued a statement Thursday, written in the third person, in which she said the speech in the Senate “was not intended to be about residential schools.” Instead, she says, “her focus was on providing clean water, adequate housing and help to the over-representation of indigenous people in our prisons. It is patently unacceptable that indigenous teenagers in Canada have never had a glass of clean water from their own kitchen tap. Instead there are calls for a costly waste of tax dollars by renaming historical buildings across Canada because their names may offend.”

Labrador MP wants senator to resign over residential school remarks

Published: March 10, 2017 - Added: March 13, 2017 - Publication: The Labradorian


Labrador MP Yvonne Jones is calling on Conservative Senator Lynn Beyak to resign her seat on the Senate’s Aboriginal affairs committee over her speech about Indian residential schools.

In her speech on March 9 Beyak said she “was disappointed in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s report in that it didn’t focus on the good” that Residential Schools did. She said the descendants of these “well-intentioned” people have to bear the cross of that stigma.

Jones said in a release that the government is committed to moving past this sad and terrible chapter in Canadian history and finding a new way forward with Indigenous Peoples in Canada through a renewed nation-to-nation relationship.

Senator scores Canada a late-game medal in the Wingnut Olympics

Published: March 10, 2017 - Added: March 13, 2017 - Publication: The Globe and Mail


This week, breaking with perceived wisdom on the way to finalizing her bitter divorce from reality, Conservative Senator Lynn Beyak decided to present an emotional defence of Canada’s residential-school system. It’s difficult, times being what they are, for Canada to stand out in the Wingnut Olympics currently in full swing, but Senator Beyak seems determined to own the podium.

Then, on Wednesday, up stepped Senator Beyak with a little number I’ll call “Homage to the Real Victims of Residential Schools: The Hypothetical Descendants of the People Who Taught at Those Schools, Whose Feelings Might Be Hurt If They Stumbled Across a Copy of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Final Report and Read It.”

She did this, she said “mostly in memory of the kindly and well-intentioned men and women and their descendants – perhaps some of us here in this chamber – whose remarkable works, good deeds and historical tales in the residential schools go unacknowledged.”

It’s true, A Child’s Garden of Beating, Starving and Raping Children in the Indigenous Residential School System never did find a publisher. Nor did The Secret Burial Garden.

All those “historical tales” lost. All those “remarkable works” so uncharitably documented as crimes.

MP who survived residential school calls for senator’s resignation

Published: March 09, 2017 - Added: March 10, 2017 - Publication: CTV News


OTTAWA -- New Democrat MP Romeo Saganash wants a Conservative senator to resign after she lamented that negative stories about residential schools overshadow the good things they accomplished, including raising the students as Christians.

Ontario Senator Lynn Beyak, who sits on the upper chamber's aboriginal peoples committee, made the remarks in a speech about a study on the disproportionately high number of indigenous women in Canadian prisons.

Beyak didn't address the topic, but spoke instead about residential schools and a proposal to change the name of the Langevin Block, which houses the Prime Minister's Office, because Hector-Louis Langevin was the architect of the policy.

Saganash, a survivor of the residential school system, asked Indigenous and Northern Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett whether she'd agree to call for Beyak's resignation.

"I was also shocked when I heard what Senator Beyak said," Saganash said in question period in the House of Commons. The goal of the system, he said, was to "take me away from my family, my culture, my language and my land," calling it "a form of cultural genocide."

"There's never a good side to genocide," Saganash said.

Conservatives disavow Tory senator’s positive views of residential schools

Published: March 09, 2017 - Added: March 10, 2017 - Publication: The Globe and Mail


A Conservative senator is facing widespread condemnation from politicians of all stripes, including her own, after she extolled what she said was the “abundance of good” to come out of Canada’s former Indian residential schools, where widespread abuse has been documented.

Senator Lynn Beyak was roundly criticized in Parliament on Thursday, two days after she shocked other senators by defending those who had worked in the church-run schools and saying the residential-school experience had positive aspects for the Indigenous children.

Carolyn Bennett, the Liberal Minister of Indigenous Affairs, said Ms. Beyak was “ill-informed, offensive and simply wrong.” Romeo Saganash, the NDP’s indigenous affairs critic, called for Ms. Beyak’s resignation. And the Conservatives said the senator’s views were “disturbing and hurtful to the many survivors [of the church-run schools] who suffered the devastating effects.”

Since 2007, the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement, the largest class-action settlement in Canadian history, has paid billions of dollars to those who were harmed.

Murray Sinclair who led the TRC and who is now an independent senator, was in the Senate chamber when Ms. Beyak gave her speech. Mr. Sinclair said he was “a bit shocked” that Ms. Beyak held views that had been proven incorrect but he said he accepted her right to hold them.

However, Perry Bellegarde, the National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, said he was disappointed that “misinformed attitudes” such as those of Ms. Beyak still exist after all of the work done by the TRC.

“The senator’s comments point to the need for much more public education and greater understanding of our shared history,” Mr. Bellegarde said in a statement. “We expect more of our government’s representatives.”

N2N: Firestorm over Conservative Senator’s speech on Indian residential schools

Published: March 10, 2017 - Added: March 10, 2017 - Publication: APTN


Yvonne Jones, Parliamentary secretary for Indigenous affairs, called on Conservative Senator Lynn Beyak to resign her seat on the Senate’s Aboriginal affairs committee over her speech about Indian residential schools.

Beyak, in the speech delivered Tuesday in the Senate’s Red Chamber, said there was too much emphasis placed on the negative aspects of Indian residential school.

Beyak should apologize and resign her spot on the committee, said Jones during Nation to Nation’s MP’s panel.

[Original article Includes a video segment]

Conservative senator defends 'well-intentioned' residential school system

Published: March 08, 2017 - Added: March 09, 2017 - Publication: CBC


Conservative Senator Lynn Beyak mounted a defence of the residential school system for Aboriginal children in the Red Chamber Tuesday, lamenting that the "good deeds" accomplished by "well-intentioned" religious teachers have been overshadowed by negative reports documented by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

Beyak, an Ontario senator, appointed by former prime minister Stephen Harper in 2013, said she has spoken to Indigenous people who have told her of the positive experiences they had while at the schools, adding many have kept their Christian faith after it was imparted to them by school administrators.

"Mistakes were made at residential schools — in many instances, horrible mistakes that overshadowed some good things that also happened at those schools," she said, rising to speak on Senator Kim Pate's inquiry on the over-representation of Indigenous women in Canadian prisons, a topic Beyak largely ignored in her lengthy speech.

Senator Murray Sinclair, who served as the chief commissioner of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, sat in the chamber during Beyak's speech, and was the first to respond.

"I am a bit shocked, senator, that you still hold some views that have been proven to be incorrect over the years, but, nonetheless, I accept that you have the right to hold them," he said.

Beyak, who hails from northwestern Ontario, also praised former prime minister Pierre Trudeau's 1969 white paper on Indigenous issues, which proposed doing away with the Indian Act, treaties and eliminating a distinct legal Indian status.

"The leaders of the day called it 'forced assimilation,' but I don't believe that was Trudeau's intent. I think he just wanted us to be Canadians together. The concept was to trade your status card for Canadian citizenship … it was brilliant and revolutionary," she said.

Truth is like cream and it always floats to the top

Published: March 07, 2017 - Added: March 08, 2017 - Publication: Soo Today


Indian residential school survivors, and those trained to help them, are gathering in Sault Ste. Marie Tuesday through Thursday.

Annual training and activities, both formal and fun-oriented, are going on at the Delta Hotel and the Etienne Brule Room for health support and cultural support workers involved in the Ontario Indian Residential School Support Services program.

“We have a number of staff, male and female, who try to meet survivors needs,” said Claudette Chevrier, Ontario Indian Residential School Support Services cultural support.

Ottawa starts compensating residential school survivors over rejected claims

Published: March 03, 2017 - Added: March 06, 2017 - Publication: The Globe and Mail


The federal government has reached financial agreements with the first of many people who were harmed as children at an Indian residential school but whose claims for compensation were unfairly denied as a result of a legal tactic employed by Justice Department lawyers.

Settlements negotiated over the past several days mark the end of years of injustice for former students who were told that, because of a change known as the administrative split, they were ineligible for payments offered under the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement to those who suffered physical or sexual abuse.

We owe this to ourselves: Teachers learn how to talk residential schools at Winnipeg workshop

Published: March 05, 2017 - Added: March 06, 2017 - Publication: CBC


Around 30 Winnipeg educators became students on Saturday at a workshop designed to build skills around teaching the history and legacy of residential schools in Canada.

"The importance of bringing this into the classroom is that we owe this to our students. We owe this to ourselves," said Leora Schaefer, a facilitator and Toronto director of Facing History and Ourselves, the organization that developed the workshop.

The workshop, called Stolen Lives: The Indigenous Peoples of Canada and the Indian Residential Schools, aims to show teachers strategies to bring the history of residential schools into the classroom and engage students with calls to action in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

Participants also heard a first-hand account from Manitoba residential school survivor Theodore Fontaine, who worked with the organization in developing the workshop and accompanying textbook.

The Stolen Lives book is available for purchase or free download online.

60s Scoop survivor returns to Canada for the first time

Published: March 04, 2017 - Added: March 06, 2017 - Publication: CBC


After more than five decades, a man who was sent from Manitoba to New Zealand as a boy in the Sixties Scoop has returned to Canada for the first time.

Brent Mitchell was apprehended by child welfare authorities in Winnipeg when he was just one. After bouncing through seven foster homes, he was sent to a foster family in New Zealand in 1963 when he was five years old.

He arrived in Ottawa early Friday morning for a special gathering of Sixties Scoop survivors here this weekend organized by the Legacy of Hope Foundation.

Gender lens needed on indigenous claims

Published: March 02, 2017 - Added: March 06, 2017 - Publication: Winnipeg Free Press


What price would you place on the loss of your children?

This is perhaps the most gripping question ignored by the largest compensation process within the Indian Residential School Settlement. It also makes clear why a gender analysis of policy is important, because it can demonstrate how policies affect men and women differently.

The Canadian model set up to compensate survivors who endured serious physical and sexual abuse at Indian residential schools is called the Independent Assessment Process (IAP). Because it is so large - involving 38,000 survivors and costing $3.1 billion dollars to date - it offers important insights into how programs and policies can discriminate, even if that is not the intention.

A Prairie-based, community-university gender analysis of the IAP demonstrates several ways the model discriminates. One finding was the irreparable cost, frequently born by the indigenous mothers, of losing their children - a cost the model did not acknowledge or support. For example, the IAP compensates former residential school students for loss of income or opportunity if the abuse they suffered at the schools can be linked to their inability to hold or function in paid employment or in succeeding with educational pursuits. But the model fails to compensate survivors if the abuse they suffered at Indian residential schools led to substance use or social dysfunction that disrupted family functioning, leading to a child welfare system's apprehension of their children.

Joseph Augie Merasty, author and residential school survivor, dies at 87

Published: February 28, 2017 - Added: March 06, 2017 - Publication: CBC


Joseph Auguste Merasty, who overcame tremendous odds to release his memoir about abuse and survival at a Saskatchewan residential school, died at the age of 87 on Feb. 27, 2017, his publisher confirmed.

Residential school survivor and author Augie Merasty dies at 87

Published: February 28, 2017 - Added: March 06, 2017 - Publication: CTN News


A Saskatchewan author who published a highly renowned memoir in his mid-80s chronicling his journey through residential school has died.

Joseph Auguste Merasty, or “Augie,” died Monday morning in Prince Albert.