January 24, 2023
UBCIC Stands with Day Scholar Survivors and Acknowledges Major Settlement Negotiated Regarding Harms of Indian Residental Schools on Culture and Nations
(xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish) and səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil Waututh)/Vancouver, B.C. – January 24, 2023) the Government of Canada announced Saturday the $2.8 billion dollar settlement of a class-action lawsuit brought forward by Shíshálh and Tk’emlúps te Secwe̓pemc Nations on behalf of Day Scholars who attended Indian Residential Schools as the band-class plaintiffs seeking reparations for the loss of language and culture. The decision to approve the settlement, which is to be administered independently of the federal government in a 20 year not-for-profit trust, remains before the court.
Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, UBCIC President, stated “No amount of money is sufficient to heal the harms inflicted by Indian Residential Schools, but we are encouraged by the historic nature of the settlement which proposes administration of funds by an independent trust and for bands to be specifically compensated. In acknowledging the harms inflicted upon Day Scholars, not only upon our people, but upon our culture and our Nations, this decision must act as a minimum standard going forward to uphold First Nations’ jurisdiction, title, and rights to governance so that we are the ones to decide how we need to heal – and are afforded the tools to do so.”
“Survivors and their families have waited a long time to see financial compensation and recognition of the harms and loss of culture caused by Indian Residential Schools used as an assimilationist apparatus to destroy our Nations,” stated Kukpi7 Judy Wilson, UBCIC Secretary-Treasurer. “The UBCIC stands with survivors and we sincerely hope that this settlement for bands will tangibly support communities to rebuild their language, heritage, cultural programming and to restore some of what was systematically destroyed. When we are rooted in our language, our culture, our land and our laws, we are rich as a people.”
“First Nations in BC are again demonstrating strength, ardent leadership, and commitment to our inherent title and rights by holding Canada to account in yet another landmark settlement decision. I raise my hands to former Shíshálh Chief Garry Feschuk and former Tk’emlúps te Secwe̓pemc Chief Shane Gottfriedson and their Nations who launched this suit more than a decade ago seeking justice for Day Scholars who were excluded in previous settlements. I thank First Nations in BC, in all leadership roles from community to council, who have paddled fiercely together to support Indian Residential School survivors,” concluded Chief Don Tom, UBCIC Vice President.
Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, President, 250-490-5314
Chief Don Tom, Vice-President, 604-290-6083
Kukpi7 Judy Wilson, Secretary-Treasurer, c/o 778-866-0548
UBCIC is an NGO in Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.
For more information please visit www.ubcic.bc.ca