The Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement, signed in 2006, marked a historic step towards reconciliation between Indigenous peoples and the Canadian government. The agreement was the result of a class-action lawsuit brought by survivors of the Indian residential school system, which was a dark chapter in Canada`s history. The settlement provided compensation, a truth and reconciliation commission, and funding for various programs aimed at healing, education, and commemoration.
But who were the parties to the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement? Let`s take a closer look.
The plaintiffs in the class-action lawsuit were survivors of the Indian residential school system. The system, which operated from the 1870s until the 1990s, was a network of boarding schools run by the Canadian government and various Christian denominations. Indigenous children were forcibly taken from their families and sent to these schools, where they were forbidden from speaking their languages or practicing their culture and were often subjected to physical, emotional, and sexual abuse.
The plaintiffs sought compensation for the harm they had suffered, as well as acknowledgment of the government`s and churches` role in the system and a commitment to reconciliation.
The defendants in the class-action lawsuit were the Government of Canada and various Christian denominations that had operated residential schools. The government was responsible for funding and overseeing the schools, while the churches were responsible for running them. The defendants acknowledged the harm that had been done and the need for reconciliation.
The Settlement Agreement
The Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement was negotiated by the plaintiffs and defendants and signed in 2006. It established the following components:
– Common Experience Payment: Survivors who attended residential schools were eligible for a one-time payment of $10,000 as compensation for the harm they suffered.
– Independent Assessment Process: Survivors could also apply for additional compensation for specific harms, such as physical or sexual abuse, through an independent assessment process.
– Truth and Reconciliation Commission: A commission was established to document the history and legacy of residential schools and promote reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples.
– Commemoration: Funding was provided for various projects aimed at commemorating the residential school system, such as memorials and exhibits.
– Healing and Education: Funding was provided for various programs aimed at healing, education, and reconciliation, such as counseling services and cultural programs.
The Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement was a significant step towards reconciliation between Indigenous peoples and the Canadian government. The plaintiffs, who were survivors of the residential school system, sought acknowledgment, compensation, and a commitment to reconciliation from the defendants, which included the government and various Christian churches. The settlement agreement provided compensation, a truth and reconciliation commission, funding for commemoration and healing, and a framework for moving forward. Today, we continue to grapple with the legacy of the residential school system, but the settlement agreement remains a landmark moment in our collective history.