Ontario Regional Chief – “Every last Indian Residential School Survivor deserves Justice”

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The goal of residential schooling was to separate children from their families, culture, and identity. Saskatchewan Archives Board, R-A2690.
The goal of residential schooling was to separate children from their families, culture, and identity. Saskatchewan Archives Board, R-A2690.

Chiefs of Ontario Stand Behind St. Anne’s Residential School Survivors, call on Canada to immediately compensate survivors.

Ontario Regional Chief Day
Ontario Regional Chief Day

TORONTO –  Ontario Regional Chief Isadore Day and the Chiefs of Ontario stand with Edmund Metatawabin and the Survivors of the St. Anne’s Residential School. “We offer our full support in their continued efforts to secure fair settlements and recompense from the federal government,” says Regional Chief Day.

Chiefs of Ontario say, “Survivors of St. Anne’s have been forced to appear before Ontario courts on up to five occasions and, through their evidence, retell and relive the inexcusable and horrific experience they were unwillingly subjected to as children. The Government of Canada withheld documents from the Individual Assessment Process for years.  The Government challenged the credibility of survivors because the documentation Canada had produced did not support the survivors’ stories. Canada was withholding these documents until a court-mandated their release in 2014, but Canada still retains and will not produce further documentation pertinent to the settlements”.

In the court challenge, Edmund Metatawabin and the Survivors say that the absence and withholding of documentation have played a role in preventing some survivors from proving the extent of the abuse at St. Anne’s.  Some survivors did not receive any settlement, or were under-compensated. The continued denial of fair compensation for the survivors is tantamount to a denial from Canada that their horrific experiences ever took place.

Edmund Metatawabin continues to work for a resolution outside of the courts, as well, and we support him in his efforts.

“To be denied compensation for horrific atrocities being inflicted upon you as a child, due to a mere lack of documentation, is completely counter to the continued words and hopes of the current federal government on forging a new relationship,” said Regional Chief Isadore Day. “I also want to recognize Edmund Metatawabin, who is a former Chief of Fort Albany First Nation, and himself a St. Anne’s survivor. Edmund has been working tirelessly to keep the plight of his fellow survivors public, and I offer my deepest thanks and support to him and his fellow survivors in any way I can.”

“Canada must address and conclude full #Reconciliation; no statute of limitation or fear of addressing more claims should stop Canada from dealing with the cancer of the IRS legacy,” said Regional Chief Day. “We must unify First Nations, the First Nation political organizations across Ontario, the Assembly of First Nations and the Ontario government. We must never in good conscience let the St. Anne’s issues of abuse rest until #Reconciliation has addressed any claims of IRS Survivors.”

“Reconciliation begins in earnest with the most fundamental acceptance of our shared history, and only the entirety of that history. If Canada continues to ignore the plight of these survivors, there can be no progress, and any hopes of a new relationship with Indigenous Peoples would be replaced with the continued spread of distrust and the bolstering of a colonial legacy” said Regional Chief Day.  “We call upon all Canadians to hear these stories and work with us to move forward as partners. All Canadians must play a role in this ongoing effort if we’re going to achieve justice for all residential school survivors.”