The Anishinabek Nation has joined the Federation of Sovereign Indigneous Nations in its call on Ottawa to extend the Federal Indian Day School Class Action Settlement.
The last day to submit settlement claims is July 13.
In a news release issued Wednesday, the Anishinabek Nation says its has joined the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations in signing its Petition of Demand, which can be signed and submitted electronically by members of the public.
Nearly 200,000 Indigenous children attended federally-operated Indian Day Schools across Canada beginning in the 1920s. According to the federal government, several students who attended the schools experienced physical and sexual abuse at the hands of individuals entrusted with their care.
A joint statement from Anishinabek Nation and Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations follows:
ANISHINABEK NATION HEAD OFFICE (June 22, 2022) – The Federal Indian Day School Class Action Settlement is set to close forever in July 2022. As this date quickly approaches, Survivors and their families are in distress, outwardly excluded from a process established to find them justice. First Nations and Indigenous representatives have called for amendments and the addressing of the many issues being experienced by Survivors; however, these calls have been ignored. The timeline of this settlement is not being extended for all, despite challenges from the global COVID-19 pandemic.
Survivors repeatedly report receiving lower levels than deserved and have been deprived of the ability to disclose further proof as they acquire or remember it. Survivors are also unable to re-apply for their deserved compensation level. Across this country, federally-funded Day Schools have been left off of this eligibility list. Survivors continue to be re-traumatized as they and their families are forced to relive the trauma as they write their narratives for a stranger to review.
To demonstrate the true urgency and requirement for immediate action for all Day School Survivors and their families, the Anishinabek Nation has joined the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations (FSIN) in signing their Petition of Demand. The issues and concerns with this Settlement extend beyond tribal borders and impact Indigenous peoples.
We recognize that class actions settlements typically do not receive amendments or adjustments in this way, and acknowledge the value in following precedents and ensuring that historic judgments are applied throughout time and the status quo is maintained. However, the harms perpetrated against 200,000 Indigenous children at Indian Day Schools are harms on a scale Canada has never seen before, even exceeding the number of children directly harmed at Indian Residential Schools. The testimonies of Survivors and the uncovering of children’s graves at schools have highlighted what happens when the status quo is maintained and allow institutions to have authority because they have historically deemed them to be right. We cannot rely on the same systems that witnessed and allowed the creation and facilitation of these institutions of assimilation to find justice for our people. True reconciliation requires change, and we are calling upon Canada and the Class Council to make these unprecedented, but imperative changes to the Settlement.
We have walked with Survivors and their families, we listen and hear their cries, we sit and see their tears, and we will be the ones to manage the repercussions of this gross injustice for generations to come in Indigenous communities.
In a true and honourable act of Truth and Reconciliation, we are calling on the Government of Canada to take the steps necessary to bring Class Council to the table to extend the deadline for the Federal Indian Day school Class Action Settlement and begin important discussions around addressing the additional barriers to equitable justice being experienced across Canada by Day School Survivors.