Indian Band elders to hear day-scholar lawsuit arguments

Indian Band elders to hear day-scholar lawsuit arguments

Lawyers will begin arguing to certify class-action lawsuit on behalf of thousands of First Nations students who attended residential schools

  • Mar. 21, 2015 3:00 p.m.

By Cam Fortems

Kamloops This Week

Four elders from the Tk’emlups Indian Band (TIB) will accompany Chief Shane Gottfriedson and band councillors to Vancouver next month when lawyers begin arguing to certify a class-action lawsuit on behalf of thousands of First Nations students who attended residential schools.

Gottfriedson told reporters at a press conference on Friday, March 20, that local corporations and others have donated to a special fund to allow the elders — day scholars themselves — to be in Vancouver to hear arguments in Federal Court for one week starting on April 13.

While First Nations people who lived at Indian residential schools were given compensation by the federal government, Ottawa has refused to compensate those who attended the schools only during the day.

Gottfriedson said those students suffered many of the same sexual, physical and emotional abuses as those who lived in dormitories.

“It’s having an effect on their lives,” he said.

TIB and Sechelt bands have partnered on the lawsuit, seeking to certify it as a class-action so every day scholar in Canada will be compensated if the lawsuit is successful.

In 2008, Ottawa provided compensation for residential school students — $10,000 for the first year in a residential school, followed by $3,000 a year thereafter.

Money was also paid for commemorative activities and a truth and reconciliation commission.

Only those who suffered specific abuses or lived in dormitories were covered.