NDP PRESS RELEASE
OTTAWA – As Aboriginal groups from across Canada file a class action lawsuit on behalf of day school survivors, the New Democrat Aboriginal Affairs critic is calling on the government to use this as an opportunity to move towards reconciliation and healing.
“The survivors of day schools suffered some of the same abuse and indignities that residential school survivors did,” said Jean Crowder, MP for Nanaimo-Cowichan. “Why drag out a court case to decide compensation when the government can move now to settle with survivors on an agreement that provides compensation, but more importantly, healing?”
Day schools were also operated on behalf of the Canadian government by church entities, usually on or near reserves. Although they were able to go home most nights, children were still forbidden from speaking their indigenous language, forced to abandon cultural practices and some were subject to harsh punishments from the school authorities.
“First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples all had children who attended these day schools,” said Crowder. “By closing the gap that exists because day school survivors were not covered by the Indian Residential School Settlement, we will be taking one small step towards reconciliation.”
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