Former Aboriginal Students to Receive $1.9 Billion from Federal Government
by
EB Lapointe

Ten of thousands of survivors of abuse at native residential schools will receive up to $30,000 each in a package announced November 23, 2005.

Grand Chief Phil Fontaine of the Assembly of First Nations said, "This is the largest and most comprehensive settlement package in Canadian history. Today marks the first step towards closure on a terrible, tragic legacy for the thousands of First Nations individuals who suffered physical, sexual, or psychological abuse."

More than six months ago, on May 30, the Assembly of First Nations and the Federal Cabinet signed a Political Accord that recognized the need for reconciliation and healing. The plan includes a national apology, an improved compensation process for victims of sexual and physical abuse, a lump-sum payment for former students, and a Truth and Reconciliation Commission with both national and regional processes. The Aboriginal Healing Foundation will receive additional funding for additional five years.

The Agreement in Principal also calls for an expedited process to resolve the claims of the elderly. Survivors involved in class-action lawsuits also qualify for all of the benefits of the settlement package, including compensation.

The Assembly of First Nations report and approach was endorsed by residential school survivors, lawyers involved in class-action cases, and the churches.

The website of the Assembly of First Nations is <http://www.afn.ca>.

27 December, 2005



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