Home Business Waddell Phillips Professional Corporation, Peter Grant Law, and Diane Soroka Avocate Inc. – First Nations sign historic settlement agreement with Canada to address collective harms caused by Indian Residential Schools

Waddell Phillips Professional Corporation, Peter Grant Law, and Diane Soroka Avocate Inc. – First Nations sign historic settlement agreement with Canada to address collective harms caused by Indian Residential Schools

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VANCOUVER, British Columbia, Jan. 21, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc, shíshálh Nation and the Grand Council of the Crees (Eeyou Istchee) are pleased to announce that they have reached a historic $2.8 billion settlement with Canada that recognizes the collective harms suffered by Indigenous communities caused by Indian Residential Schools.

Gottfriedson v. His Majesty the King in Right of
Canada, also known as the Band Reparations Class Action, is a class action against the Government of Canada. The lawsuit says that the Government of Canada is responsible for the collective damages to Indigenous communities caused by the Indian Residential School system, including collective loss of language and culture and damage to the social fabric.

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325 First Nations Bands are part of the lawsuit. In order to participate, Bands had to “opt-in” or “join” the class action. The opt-in period is now closed, and it is no longer possible to join the lawsuit. For a complete list of Bands that joined the lawsuit and are band class members, go to www.bandreparations.ca

This lawsuit was brought by representative plaintiff First Nations Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc and shíshálh Nation, with the support of the Grand Council of the Crees (Eeyou Istchee).

The settlement agreement is based on the Four Pillar Principles:

  • Revival and protection of Indigenous languages;
  • Revival and protection of Indigenous cultures;
  • Wellness for Indigenous communities and their members;
  • Promotion and protection of heritage.

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The key terms of the settlement agreement are:

  • The Government of Canada will make a payment of $2.8 billion (the “Fund”) to a Trust/Not-For-Profit to fully and finally resolve the Band Reparations Class Action.
  • The Trust/Not-For-Profit will be responsible for prudently investing the Fund for a period of 20 years, distributing investment income from the Fund to the band class members, and, at the end of 20 years, distributing the remaining Fund to the band class members to support programs and activities which further the Four Pillar principles.
  • The Trust/Not-For-Profit will be Indigenous-led and Indigenous controlled. The Trust/Not-For Profit will be governed by a board of nine Indigenous directors.

The settlement agreement must be approved by the Federal Court as being fair, reasonable and in the best interests of the class before it becomes final. A Settlement Approval Hearing will start in Vancouver on February 27, 2023 at 9:30 a.m. (Pacific Time) for up to three days. Band class members have the right to participate in the hearing.

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For more information, including the full Settlement Agreement, go to www.bandreparations.ca

QUOTES:

Shane Gottfriedson, Representative Plaintiff and Former Chief of Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc: “Our Nations started this lawsuit because we saw the devastating impacts that residential schools had on our Nations as a whole. 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. This settlement is about taking steps towards undoing the damage that was done to our Nations.”

Garry Feschuk, Representative Plaintiff and Former Chief of shíshálh: “It has taken Canada far too long to own up to its history, own up to the genocide it committed and recognize the collective harm caused to our Nations by Residential Schools. It is time that Canada not only recognize this harm, but help undo it by walking with us. This settlement is a good first step.”

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hiwus Warren Paull, shíshálh Nation: “As a result of residential schools, within a few generations, sháshíshálhem went from being the first language of nearly everyone in our Nation to being on the verge of disappearing forever. We lost our last fluent speakers over the past few years. Much of this harm cannot be undone. With today’s announcement, First Nations will be able to continue restoring and revitalizing some of what was lost.”

Kúkpi7 Rosanne Casimir, Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc: “Canada spent over 100 years trying to destroy our languages and cultures through Residential Schools. Canada did not succeed, but it did cause profound damage. It is going to take incredible efforts by our Nations to restore our languages and culture – this settlement gives Nations the resources and tools needed to make a good start.”

Dr. Matthew Coon Come, former Grand Chief of, and representative for, the Grand Council of the Crees (Eeyou Istchee): “The Grand Council of the Crees is proud to have stood with Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc and shíshálh Nation in this historic struggle for recognition of the harms done to our Nations as a result of Residential Schools. My hope is that this settlement will help this generation and future generations reclaim our cultures and languages.”

CONTACT (media only):

Cory Wanless
Waddell Phillips PC
Email: cory@waddellphillips.ca
Phone: 647-874-2555

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