Mon 23 January 2023:
The government of Canada has announced that it will pay more than $2 billion to hundreds of Indigenous communities to resolve a lawsuit seeking damages for the loss of language and culture brought on by residential schools.
A settlement of 2.8 billion Canadian dollars ($2.1 billion US) was reached in the class action case brought by 325 Indigenous groups. This money will go into a trust fund that is independent of the government.
It will be used to “revitalize Indigenous education, culture, and language – to support survivors in healing and reconnecting with their heritage,” according to a government statement.
The precise terms for disbursing the $2.1bn are yet to be approved by the federal court.
From the late 1800s through the 1990s, the Canadian government sent around 150,000 kids to 139 residential schools. Indigenous children were separated from their family, language, and culture while they were in the institutions, which were mostly run by the Catholic Church.
Numerous kids were also subjected to physical and sexual abuse, and hundreds are thought to have passed away from illness, hunger, or neglect.
Numerous unmarked graves have been found in the former schools over the past two years, shedding light on Canada’s troubled colonial past. There have been found to be more than 1,300 burials.
Numerous demonstrators gathered to call for a thorough probe into the residential schools that Indigenous children were compelled to attend.
During a penitential visit to Canada last year, Pope Francis of the Catholic Church apologized to Indigenous people for the “evil” of residential schools, the church-run, forced-assimilation facilities that children from First Nations, Inuit, and Metis communities were forced to attend for decades.
In Lebret, Saskatchewan, earlier this month, ground-penetrating radar identified nearly “2,000 areas of interest” that required in-depth investigation, according to the Star Blanket Cree community.
A fragment of a child’s jawbone dating to some 125 years ago has already been identified on the grounds of a former residential school in the western Canadian community.
“The residential school system decimated our languages, profoundly damaged our cultures, and left a legacy of social harms. The effects go beyond my generation. It will take many generations for us to heal,” said Shane Gottfriedson, Indigenous leader and plaintiff.
SOURCE: INDEPENDENT PRESS AND NEWS AGENCIES
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