Canada

Ottawa offers compensation to native veterans

The federal government is offering native veterans up to $20,000 in compensation for benefits they were denied after returning from war.

The federal government is offering native veterans up to $20,000 in compensation for benefits they were denied after returning from war.

However those accepting payment must sign a waiver exempting them from related lawsuits.

Native veterans who served in both world wars and Korea say they were denied spousal benefits, education and jobs and they say they received less resettlement money than other veterans.

The Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations, which campaigned for compensation, was seeking about $420,000 for each of the 1,000 veterans and 800 surviving spouses.

Federation Chief Perry Bellegarde says he is going to let aboriginal war veterans decide whether the compensation offer is enough.

Bellegarde admits the offer falls far short of the amount they were seeking, but adds that it's a start.

The veterans affairs office says it hopes to meet aboriginal leaders in July to talk about the offer.

The announcement came after veterans voted this month to relaunch their court case against Ottawa. They put their 1998 legal action on hold during talks with the government.

Ottawa recently settled outstanding compensation claims by merchant marines and other veterans groups.

now