In the News

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

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Legal battles continue for St. Anne's residential school survivors

Publication: TB Newswatch -   2-, 2017

Nishnawbe Aski Nation Deputy Grand Chief Anna Betty Achneepineskum is appalled by the Government of Canada’s legal tactics that are revictimizing survivors of the notorious St. Anne’s Indian Residential School and denying them justice.

“The federal government’s position against St. Anne’s Survivors is a shameful injustice that is at odds with the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and this government’s commitment to reconciliation,” said Achneepineskum, who is attending Wednesday’s hearing in the Ontario Superior Court.

“It is unconscionable that unscrupulous legal tactics are forcing these victims to be retraumatized. If the government’s actions matched their words, they would support survivors of the residential school experience instead of bullying them into silence.”

St. Anne’s Residential School Survivors Angela Shisheesh and an unnamed claimant (Claimant C-14114) are in court Wednesday challenging the Government of Canada for violating their legal rights under the Indian Residential School Settlement Agreement. 

  2-, 2017

St. Anne's Residential School Survivors in Court

Publication: Anishinabek News -   2-, 2017

A small group of people showed up at the Superior Court in Toronto yesterday to show support for the survivors of St. Anne’s Residential School. The Superior Court is holding a hearing about St. Anne’s Residential School Survivor Angela Shisheesh’s standing regarding a Request for Direction (RFD) that she has brought before the court.

Shisheesh, is a class member of the class action Indian Residential School Settlement Agreement (IRSSA) that was signed in 2006. All persons who attended an Indian Residential School before December 31, 1997 are class members. That includes Ms. Shisheesh even though she did not seek IAP (Independent Assessment Process) compensation.

The Court, despite not making this argument when the RFD was initially filed, argues that members of the IRSSA class waived their right to civil process through the courts, but this needs to be understood as conditional on Canada’s compliance with the IRSSA’s terms. Canada has not been compliant, and government lawyers have suppressed thousands of pages of evidence that documented horrific crimes of abuse, torture and child rape at St. Anne’s.

  2-, 2017

Nation To Nation: Government needs to stop treating families disrespectfully – NDP

Publication: APTN News -   2-, 2017

The opposition members of Nation to Nation’s political panel took the government to task over why it forced Angela Sheeshish into court to get permission to tell the world about her ordeal at the notorious St. Anne’s residential school in Fort Albany, Ontario.

Ottawa and the church currently control her testimony because of a previous settlement.

NDP MP Charlie Angus has been a strong advocate of Sheeshish’s struggle.

His colleague, NDP MP Sheila Malcolmson, was asked about the issue during N2N’s political panel.

“Decades of what any of us would call torture, institutionalized pedophilia, people in the highest level of responsibility inflicting the worst abuse of power. And ruining generations of families,” Malcolmson told N2N Host Todd Lamirande.

  2-, 2017

Residential-school survivor gets permission from government to donate documents

Publication: Globe and Mail -   2-, 2017

The federal government says it will allow an Indigenous woman who was abused at a residential school to donate documents related to her case to the centre that is preserving the painful legacy of the institutions.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the government will waive the privilege it asserts over the records pertaining to the lawsuit launched by Angela Shisheesh for the hardships she endured at the infamous St. Anne's Residential School in Fort Albany, Ont., where former students say they were forced to eat their own vomit and tortured in a makeshift electric chair.

"We must never allow this dark and painful chapter of our history to be forgotten," Mr. Trudeau told the daily Question Period in the House of Commons on Wednesday – the same day that a story about Ms. Shisheesh's quest to donate her documents to the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation in Winnipeg appeared in The Globe and Mail.

"We're encouraging all survivors to share their stories and documents with the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation," the Prime Minister said. "Where an individual requests it, our government is willing to absolutely waive privilege and encourages all other entities to do the same. We remain committed to bringing closure to this system."

Ms. Shisheesh, 72, was the lead plaintiff in a suit involving 156 former students who were physically or sexually abused at St. Anne's. That ended in a financial settlement in 2004 – two years before the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement (IRSSA) was signed to compensate survivors of the schools.

  2-, 2017

Letter from Charlie Angus Re: Revictimizing Tactics Against St. Anne s Survivors

Publication: -   2-, 2017

Dear Ministers,

I am writing you regarding a disturbing escalation in the tactics being employed to silence survivors of St. Anne's residential school. I have reached out to you on numerous
times asking you to look into the suppression of evidence regarding horrific levels of abuse at St. Anne's. Yet your lawyers have continued to attempt to overturn rulings that
have been re-adjudicated because of the decision to withhold key evidence from the JAP. I note that your officials have taken positions that force St. Anne's survivor Angela
Shisheesh to act as a witness in support of claimants who suffered sexual assault as children. Your officials have taken the position that her in-person witness testimony is
required again, to be used by IAP hearing adjudicators. Your lawyers already tested her in civil actions over ten years ago. This is revictimization as intimidation to deny justice
to other victims whom Canada has already failed.

I remind you that Ms. Shisheesh's testimony would not have been required in the IAP had Canada not chosen to suppress the evidence gathered by the OPP and generated in
the civil actions that verified the crimes against the children of St. Anne's. 

  2-, 2017

Survivor wants the world to know her residential school story – but first, she must get permission

Publication: Globe and Mail -   2-, 2017

The federal government says an Indigenous woman who was abused at a residential school must get Ottawa's permission and that of the Catholic Church, which ran the institution, before she can donate documents related to her case to a centre that is preserving the horrific legacy of the schools.

Angela Shisheesh, 72, says she wants to tell the world what happened to her and her sister at the infamous St. Anne's Residential School in Fort Albany, Ont., and she is determined to have her story documented at the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation in Winnipeg.

In the early 2000s, Ms. Shisheesh was the lead plaintiff in a suit involving 156 students who were physically or sexually abused at the institution. That ended in a financial settlement in 2004 – two years before the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement (IRSSA) was signed by lawyers for former students, the Assembly of First Nations, the federal government and the churches that ran the schools.


  2-, 2017

Angus speaks for St. Anne s residential school survivors

Publication: Timmins Press -   2-, 2017

OTTAWA - Timmins-James Bay MP Charlie Angus called out the federal government for its treatment of residential school survivors in Fort Albany in the House of Commons Monday.

Angus spoke during the third reading of Bill C-58, which would amend the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act.

“I am dealing with the access to information commissioner on the three and a half year obstruction by federal officials by the officials in the justice department to suppress and black out who made key decisions regarding the justice department's response to the survivors of St. Anne's Residential School,” he said.

“The story of what was done to the children at St. Anne's, year in, year out, generation upon generation, stands among the most horrifying stories in this country's history. A veritable concentration camp of torture and sexual abuse of children.”

Angus explained the sequence of events. In 1992, survivors came together in Fort Albany to talk about their experiences at residential school – which included rape and forced abortion. The chief brought these stories to the Ontario Provincial Police, demanding an investigation.

Angus said that investigation added up to 12,000 pages of police testimony and documentation, and identified 180 perpetrators of abuse.

A decade later, the federal government sat down with the survivors, said Angus.

“The survivors were so shocked at the aggression of the federal government to fight and deny every single case, no matter what the evidence.”

Some people were convicted, said Angus, but in the end, “The big ones got away. The priests, the bishops who were involved, they got away.”

A few years after that, St. Anne's survivors prepared to participate in the Indian residential schools settlement process, where survivors could tell their stories.

  2-, 2017

Ottawa initially fought St. Anne's residential school electric chair compensation claims

Publication: CBC News -   2-, 2017

Ottawa's lawyers initially fought claims from survivors seeking compensation for suffering caused by a homemade electric chair used for punishment and sport at St. Anne's Indian residential school, CBC News has learned.

Federal lawyers argued shocks from the chair did not qualify as physical harm despite holding evidence in Ontario Provincial Police documents that described its use at the school which operated in Fort Albany along Ontario's James Bay coast.

A spokesperson for the Indian Residential Schools Adjudication Secretariat, which oversees the IAP process, said it does not track claims of "alleged abuse through the use of an electric chair at St. Anne's." Spokesperson Michael Tansey said in a statement the secretariat is aware of least one related claim which Canada did not "support for other reasons" but where the adjudicator did award compensation for suffering caused by the electric chair.

Tansey said 95.2 per cent of St. Anne's claims received compensation, a rate above the 89.2 per cent rate for all residential school claims.

  2-, 2017