N.W.T. day school students need federal recognition, says Dene national chief

Dene National Chief Bill Erasmus says some day schools in the N.W.T. are not being recognized by the federal government, and that's leaving students who attended without the chance for fair compensation.

Bill Erasmus says some former day schools in territory aren't recognized as federally funded

'Some of our chiefs are saying they have schools that should be recognized,' says Dene National Chief Bill Erasmus.

The Dene Nation says many day school students are being left out of the reconciliation process.

Students who went to residential schools only during the day weren't included in the Indian Residential Schools Class Action Settlement, but can now apply for compensation through a class action lawsuit.

However, according to Dene National Chief Bill Erasmus, that won't help students who attended schools that still aren't recognized as federally funded.

"Some of our chiefs [in the N.W.T.,] are saying they have schools that should be recognized," says Erasmus. "For example Whati, Fort Rae, Hay River — these are institutions that should have been recognized and for whatever reason they weren't."

Erasmus is not sure "how many day schools were not included in the Northwest Territories," but is planning to research that number. 

"You have to remember a lot of this information was just put aside, old records were destroyed," says Erasmus.

"But now with all the work that's been done we've done a lot more research, and we have a lot more to work with, so we've really got a chance to get this right."

According to Erasmus, the next step is getting the federal government involved.

"We have to agree that there were some schools missed, and then go from there."

Erasmus says he's hoping to meet with the Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs, Carolyn Bennett, on his next trip to Ottawa.