Reps coming to Yellowknife to get feedback on residential school settlement process

Representatives from the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation will be in Yellowknife Thursday to gather feedback on the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement process.

National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation holding events in 7 communities across Canada

This residential school in Mani-Utenam was demolished after its closure in 1971. Representatives are in Yellowknife to get feedback from residential school survivors on the Residential Schools Settlement Agreement process. (Library and Archives Canada)

Representatives from the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation will be in Yellowknife Thursday to gather feedback on the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement process.

Survivors of residential schools and their family members will be asked to share their good and bad experiences with the settlement process.

The goal is to "accurately capture what survivors feel worked and didn't work, and then we're going to be presenting that back to the parties, and more importantly, to the country," said Ry Moran, director of the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation at the University of Manitoba.

"Canada still has many things that it needs to resolve in regards to its treatment of Indigenous peoples, and it was felt that taking a hard look at the settlement agreement would provide us with a really good opportunity to continue to improve."

In 2007, the federal government, churches and former students reached a $2 billion settlement over abuses inflicted at residential schools.

The settlement agreement was a "massive undertaking," and the product of the largest class action lawsuit in Canadian history, said Moran. 

The agreement included $1.9 billion in Common Experience Payments for an estimated 80,000 living survivors.

It also resulted in funds for healing programs and the creation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

Survivors are sharing their views on the settlement process this fall at seven events across Canada.

Moran said survivors have pointed to "a gap between what [they] feel should have happened and perhaps what did."

These events, he added, offer participants the opportunity to share their experiences in a "a very safe spot."

Their responses will go into a public report, and could inform the outcomes of other lawsuits, such as those over "Indian hospitals" and the Sixties Scoop.  

Thursday's event takes place at St. Patrick's Parish Hall in Yellowknife, from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.