Momentum is building for the Day Scholars Class Proceeding. In addition to the original two Bands, twenty two other First Nations Bands have opted into the action and several more have committed to joining.
The deadline for other First Nation Bands to opt in is February 29, 2016.
In 2012 Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc and shíshálh Indian Bands launched the Day Scholars Class Action lawsuit which seeks compensation on behalf of all Aboriginal people who attended an Indian Residential School, but who did not sleep there. The case also seeks declarations regarding Canada’s role in the failure to protect Aboriginal language and culture, with certificationn at three levels: Survivor, Descendent and Band Class.
The day scholar class action is seeking compensation for the children of survivors, and the bands to which survivors belong.
Canada has, for several years now, recognized that the Indian Residential Schools had a profound impact not just on those who resided at the schools, but also on their communities and families. Until the new Liberal Government was elected, Canada failed to recognize cultural genocide and Canada has refused to provide compensation for those who did not sleep at the schools. This lawsuit aims to rebalance that difference.
In addition to seeking compensation for individuals who attended the Indian Residential Schools, an important part of the lawsuit includes First Nations that were affected by the presence of an Indian Residential School on or near their lands. Individual Bands can decide whether or not they wish to opt-in, or be a part of the lawsuit. Only those Bands that opt in will be eligible for compensation if any is awarded by the Courts.
Chief Calvin Craigan stated, “Nation to Nation standing together we can show the Canadian Government that they can no longer ignore the predicament of those of us who lost our sacred language and culture at the Government’s hands. Needless to say that is not just an isolated story of a few children in British Columbia, it is a national issue.”
Chief Fred Seymour added, “We thank the bands that have joined us already and we continue to encourage our follow nations to come on board to show strength, unity and a commitment to moving our day scholar class action forward.
“Now is the critical time to address the remaining legacy of the Residential Schools and their effects not just on people. Together we can speak to the Government with one voice, representing Aboriginal people from coast to coast to coast.”
Bands have until February 29, 2016 to decide if they wish to opt-in. Individual survivors, and their first descendents as or November 30, 2015 are now “in”.
For more information contact Jo-Anne Gottfriedson, Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc Day Scholar Coordinator at 250-828-9788, jo-anne. [email protected] or Hereditary Chief Garry Feschuk at 603-885-2273, [email protected] or Karenna Williams at 604-685-1229, [email protected] grantnativelaw.com