Sudbury

Indian day school compensation claims open today

Former Indian day school students are now preparing to submit compensation claims for abuse they suffered at the federally-run facilities.

Former students can receive $10K and up to $200k for struggles, abuse at day schools

Boys and girls at the Indian Day School at Trout Lake, Ontario, circa 1930. (Library and Archives Canada)

Former Indian day school students are now preparing to submit compensation claims for abuse they suffered at the federally-run facilities.

The claims process opens today.

The nation-wide settlement includes more than 120,000 thousand former students–  many of them in northern Ontario.

Chief Nelson Toulouse of Sagamok First Nation–  who was a student at a day school–  says there were five different schools in the area.    
Chief Nelson Toulouse, who attended Indian day school, says students were subject to the same abuse as in residential schools. (www.sagamok.ca)

Toulouse says students suffered the same verbal, physical abuse and sexual abuse as those who attended residential school, only they went home at the end of the day.

He says the federally-run schools had the same goal as residential schools to eradicate language and culture.

Toulouse says there is no amount of money that can compensate for loss of identity.

"I guess $10,000, the big core funding, can make life a little bit easier for those people, but I mean, it's a very small thing," Toulouse said.

He says despite the best efforts of the federally-run day schools, some students managed to maintain their language and that's evident in pockets of fluent speakers in places like Sagamok First Nation and Wiikwemkoong Unceded Territory.

"For the elderly people now who went through that system, to maintain your language was a struggle," Toulouse said. "It wasn't easy. So I tell the younger generation, you really have to thank and admire your elders because there was a price to pay to maintain your language."

Individuals can apply for between $10-200,000, based on the abuse they suffered. 

A $200 million legacy fund will also be established for wellness and healing initiatives.

Former students will have until the deadline of July 13, 2022 to file a claim. 

with files from Kate Rutherford

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