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I went to a residential school and suffered severe trauma, with language loss and abuse. Afterward, I went through counselling and psychotherapy for childhood trauma for about five years. It was pretty severe stuff. But, for me, the counselling was a very good experience; I got a lot out of it.
I took law for about three years at Carleton. English and political science too. I also worked at a national Inuit organization where I answered inquiries from all over the world about Inuit culture. And I stopped drinking for about seven or eight years.
I got involved with politics, trying to get the church and the government to apologize for the Indian Residential School system. That took a toll on me and I went heavily back into drinking. The issues were too heavy on me and I just lost it.
A judge has awarded a Saskatchewan law firm just $21,000 after it asked for $321,000 from the government for work it did representing residential school survivors in the settlement of a class action lawsuit.
In Fontaine v. Canada (Attorney General), Saskatchewan Queen’s Bench Justice Neil Gabrielson found the firm billed the government too much for work related to the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement, a country-wide class action settlement which was approved about 10 years ago.
MacDermid Lamarsh brought a request for direction in 2016 after accounts submitted to the federal government went unpaid. The firm, which was one of 90 firms that represented class members, claimed $321,644 for work done relating to the IRSSA dating back to 2005.
The federal government disputed all of MacDermid Lamarsh's claim except $22,476 in fees for work done under s. 13.02 of the IRSSA, which held that the government agreed to pay lawyers who attended the negotiations for time spent up to the settlement at their normal hourly rate.
This was not the first time the fees law firms have charged in relation to the settlement have come into question. As Legal Feeds reported in 2014, a Manitoba judge ruled a number of lawyers had been overcharging residential school survivors for work related to collecting settlements from the government.
After the Truth and Reconciliation Commission released its 94 calls to action in 2015, several cities across Canada declared a "Year of Reconciliation."
The 94 calls to action set a path for ways in which all levels of government can work together at repairing the damage caused by the residential schools system.
Vancouver, Edmonton, Saskatoon and Winnipeg are among the cities that have declared their own years focused on beginning reconciliation.
Here's how some of them are doing in their efforts.
Viola Thomas’s visit to talk to law students at Thompson Rivers University had an unintended result — one of those first-year potential lawyers learned more about the history of residential schools.
It was a shining moment for TRU law instructor Charis Kamphuis, who helped organize the visit by the Tk’emlups Indian Band councillor to talk with about 100 students and prepare them for their visit on Friday to the TIB reserve to hear more about the residential-school experience.
Kamphuis said the goal is to connect the students with the work and implement one of the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) — teaching indigenous history in law schools.
A lunch was followed by a speech by provincial court judge Len Marchand, who represented many people in the Indian Residential School Settlement Agreement.
The executive director of Aboriginal learning at Thompson Rivers University (TRU) has an ambitious goal in mind.
He wants the Kamloops institution to become the university of choice for Aboriginal learners.
Starting in early Feb., Michel is launching an online storytelling series called Towards Indigenizing Higher Ed.
Campuses across Canada have launched similar campaigns to indigenize their curriculum, inspired in part by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and its calls for action.
Law students from Thompson Rivers University will visit a sad chapter in B.C.'s past on Friday as they tour the former Kamloops Indian Residential School.
The class of 100 first-year TRU students will be joined by university president Alan Shaver as they visit the former residential School.
The field trip is in response to the federal Truth & Reconciliation Commission’s call to action to teach students about the history and legacy of residential schools in Canada.
Students will tour the Secwepemc Heritage Mueum, school dorm, and school chapel on Tk’emlups te Secwepemc band lands.
Provincial Judge Len Marchand will speak to the group on the TRC report and its recommendations.
Justice Gethin Edward says he has a personal definition of the word "reconciliation."
The Brantford judge told about 200 people in a lecture hall at Laurier Brantford's Research and Academic Centre on Wednesday evening that, when he was asked to give a lecture on what reconciliation means to him as a judge, he pulled out a copy of the Concise Oxford Dictionary given to him by his parents for Christmas in 1970.
Edward is the third of four speakers in a series of lectures organized by the Friends and Neighbours Group. The grassroots group is made up of local residents supporting the Woodland Cultural Centre and its Save the Evidence Campaign. The campaign aims to preserve the Mohawk Institute Indian Residential School on Mohawk Street, which was the country's first boarding school for First Nations children, operating from 1828 to 1970.
A coalition of seven Catholic organizations has launched the Our Lady of Guadalupe Circle in an effort to promote further reconciliation efforts with Canada’s Indigenous peoples.
“It shows we are taking seriously the response to the TRC Calls to Action,” he added. “We want to want to have a good relationship with Indigenous people like we used to prior to the residential schools.”
“It’s just now we’re on an equal basis,” he said. “No more residential school telling you what you should do, but what we can do together.”
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission has laid out a roadmap for that work, he said. “We cannot respond to everything they are asking for, but we can do what we can do. I believe it’s going to be great.”
The groups had crafted a joint submission to the TRC’s Calls to Action from the churches involved in running Indian residential schools.
“The idea was to have a national response, because we are not a national church like the Anglican Church,” said Deacon Nahanee. “We wanted to have groups that were more or less representative of a national Catholic response.”
The City of Regina says it's working to live up to the Truth and Reconciliation process.
On Wednesday, executive committee, which is city council in committee form, discussed appointing a group of "champions" who will energize the process in Regina. Mayor Michael Fougere said these people will be able to explain the history and trauma that many Indigenous people experienced.
There's a plan in the works for a conference in March that will involve some 150 guests from 10 to 12 groups — including First Nations and Métis organizations — which will focus on employment, education, health and well-being, and access to services.
MONTREAL—The year 2017 is meant to be one of celebration as Canada commemorates its 150th anniversary and Montreal marks 375 years since its founding.
But a pocket of resistance to the festivities has formed in the heart of this city, with a handful of indigenous dancers, filmmakers, singers and visual artists brought together this weekend to reflect on the native experience. At the same time, they are trying to forge a community of aboriginal artists in a city where they have too often felt alone.
But there are also those with a more contemporary flavour. Mi’kmaq filmmaker Jeff Barnaby (Rhymes for Young Ghouls), Cree and Métis dancer Daina Ashbee, and Anishnaabe sisters Émilie and Caroline Monnet are presenting work that touches on the experience of urban and on-reserve aboriginals; the scars of residential schools as well as the repeated attempts by the government to right the wrongs of history: first the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples of the 1990s, more recently the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
“It’s kind of a form of damage control,” said Kramer of the recently completed commission, which travelled across the country collecting testimony of residential school survivors and published a lengthy report with dozens of recommendations to the federal government.
“Our Canadian government had to do something because at the time there were lots of survivors going to court and it was something I don’t think they could have neglected much longer.”
Post-secondary institutions across the country have been looking to implement new policies, programs and events to support the work started by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) in 2008. But there is concern about how effective these changes can be due to the long history of colonization and the oppression of Indigenous peoples.
The truth-telling process of the TRC acknowledged the injustices and deep wounds caused by Canada's Indian Residential School legacy. Four of the 94 calls to action released by the TRC speak directly to education, recommending that schools integrate Indigenous knowledge and teaching methods into classrooms and include curriculum about Aboriginal people in Canadian history.
In response, many post-secondary institutions have created Truth and Reconciliation Steering Committees to review how they are addressing these concerns and what steps they can take moving forward. The Canadian Association of University Teachers also released a Guide to Acknowledging Traditional Territory in order to encourage academics to acknowledge the First People's traditional territory that we work and live on. And the University of Winnipeg and Lakehead University have made Indigenous courses mandatory for graduation.
UBC is responding to the TRC's calls to action by creating a west coast affiliate to the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation at the University of Manitoba. The Indian Residential School History and Dialogue Centre will be a place to house records and historical material as well as foster conversation about the Indigenous experience in Canada. Construction of the centre is expected to be completed by next summer.
The centre came out of a partnership between UBC and Indigenous community members including the Indian Residential School Survivors Society. Kesler says the centre is personal for many people involved, himself included, since his mother was Oglala-Lakota and attended a similar institution to residential school in the United States
"We're really thinking about this as a place where people talk about history and information and how to think about history, especially traumatic history or difficult history," explains Kesler.
Brantford Justice Gethin Edward will give a lecture on Jan. 25 at 7 p.m. on reconciliation and the courts in the third in a series of lectures about First Nations residential schools and the results of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
He will speak on Jan. 25 at 7 p.m. at Laurier Brantford's Research and Academic Centre, Room RCE 004, 150 Dalhousie St.
The goal of the lectures is to educate people and promote a community dialogue about the school and reconciliation, Rob Knectel, vice-chairman of Friends and Neighbours, said in an interview.
The Save the Evidence campaign is raising money for repairs and renovations of the former Mohawk Institute Indian Residential School building on Mohawk Street. It is one of the last remaining residential school buildings in the country.
Project of Heart is national program, now its second year being offered at the University of Regina, about the history of the residential school system in Canada.
“People learn together about the Indian residential school system. And they teach each other about that and then we commemorate the children and the people that went to those schools,” said Jenna Tickell, facilitator of Project of Hope.
The group meets biweekly for seven weeks on Saturdays in a Luther College classroom on the U of R campus. The program isn’t lecture-based; instead, participants complete their own research and then come back and teach their classmates what they’ve learned.
“I just saw the value in (Project of Hope) and there’s so many people that I know, my own age, older than me, that never got the education. So I want to reach as broad as I can to try and engage those learners and break that awareness,” she said.
The Faculty of Education opened its own Aboriginal Gathering Space last year—a spacious light-filled room featuring comfortable seating and a small kitchen, with cultural photos and teachings adorning the walls.
It would depict B.C.’s Indian residential schools, along with niches for seven candles representing Truth and Reconciliation’s seven sacred fires and teachings. These are: truth, humility, honesty, wisdom, respect, courage and love. The garden would also feature traditional plants, medicines and herbs, and a reconciliation memorial pole.
TORONTO – Judges have no general right to interfere with compensation decisions involving claims by victims of Canada’s notorious Indian residential schools, Ontario’s top court said Monday.
In written reasons for an oral decision rendered in December, the Court of Appeal said a Superior Court justice overstepped his powers by awarding money to a rape victim whose claims were rejected under the independent assessment process known as the IAP.
“The IAP represents a comprehensive, tailor-made scheme for the resolution of claims by trained and experienced adjudicators, selected according to specified criteria and working under the direction of the chief adjudicator,” the Appeal Court said.
“Allowing appeals or judicial review would seriously compromise the finality of the IAP and fail to pay appropriate heed to the distinctive nature of the IAP and the expertise of IAP adjudicators.”
In July last year, Ontario Superior Court Justice Paul Perell decided M.F., now 66, had been poorly treated. The finding that the school had closed before he was abused was “inconsistent, discordant, and…perverse,” Perell said. Instead of sending his claim back to adjudicators to decide anew, Perell decided to award M.F. compensation.
The federal government – which agreed M.F.’s claim deserved a new assessment hearing – argued Perell had no jurisdiction to make the award.
In siding with the government, the Appeal Court said the settlement that ended a class action arising out of the residential school system provides for recourse to the courts only in “very exceptional circumstances,” such as in cases where the agreement itself is breached.
The Appeal Court decision will likely impact a separate but related case: Two other residential school survivors want Perell to order an inquiry into why records of a criminal investigation and prosecutions arising out of abuse at the St. Anne’s residential school in Fort Albany, Ont., were only disclosed under court orders in 2014. As a result of the non-disclosure, Edmund Metatawabin and a woman known as K-10106 say some former students were unfairly denied compensation.
The case, due to return to court on March 24, is to focus on whether Superior Court has jurisdiction to grant Metatawabin and K-10106 the orders they want.
In 2007, the Canadian federal government earmarked billions of dollars to compensate former students of Indian residential schools
Putting a price on "sorry" and actually calculating the cost of amends is complicated.
Doug says reparations show a degree of sincerity but the process itself turned some Indigenous people off.
As a former student, you could qualify for reparations in two ways.
The first was for anyone who went to residential schools. They were eligible to receive $10,000 for the first year they attended, and $3,000 for subsequent years.
The second way was the process Doug is referring to - the Independent Assessment Process - which is more controversial.
It's for claims of sexual abuse or serious physical abuse, where survivors appeared before a panel. Incidents were given points and the total amount of points determined the amount of money people received.