In what has been deemed as an “historical political accord” between AFN Chief Phil Fontaine and the federal government, a deal has been reached to recognize the need for reconciliation, healing and compensation to address the injustices committed in residential schools.
It’s estimated that the Canadian government will give out lump sum payments to the 86,000 alleged victims.
The AFN report on residential schools that came out late last year suggested that each victim should get at least $10,000, plus $3,000 for every year at each school.
“Canada has committed to an approach which will finally deal with the tragic legacy of residential schools in a fair and just manner,” said Fontaine in an AFN press release. “This accord will not only result in a better, faster and more economic claims process for residential schools survivors who were abused, it is a commitment for the entire country to move forward through a national dialogue on healing, reconciliation, commemoration and truth-sharing.”
That’s not good enough for Waswanipi’s Paul Dixon. “Those numbers don’t sound right. What about the generation that was affected when their kids were taken from them? My parent’s generation,” said Dixon, who attended the Mohawk residential School in Brantford, Ontario.
“And what about the ones who will never see a penny from that? There are elders dying everyday.”
As it is now, the cases of 11,000 alleged victims are moving along at a snail’s pace in the courts, something which in the long run will be much more costly to both sides.
“I just want an apology. I don’t care so much about the money,” said Dixon. “An apology is worth more than any amount of money they could give us.”