Indigenous

​Deadline looms in class action suit on behalf of residential school day students

Time is running out for First Nations across Canada to join a class action lawsuit seeking compensation for aboriginal students who attended a residential school but did not live there.

Suit also hopes to clarify Canada's role in failure to protect aboriginal language and culture

Time is running out for First Nations across Canada to join a class action lawsuit seeking compensation for aboriginal
students who attended a residential school but did not live there.

Chief Shane Gottfriedson says the stories of those who lost their language and culture while attending residential schools cannot be ignored. (Samantha Garvey/CBC)
The Sechelt Indian Band and the Tk'emlups Indian Band launched the day scholars class action suit in 2012, and the February deadline to opt in is approaching.

Sechelt Nation counsellor Chief Garry Feschuk says the students attended 140 schools across Canada and that 10 other bands have joined the action so far, including those from Alberta and Manitoba.

The suit also hopes to clarify Canada's role in the failure to protect aboriginal language and culture, and seeks compensation for the children of survivors and the bands representing survivors.

Supporters say Canada has recognized residential schools played a key role in what has been called a cultural genocide, but that the federal government also needs to provide compensation for day students.

Chief Shane Gottfriedson, from Tk'emlups Indian Band, (and recently elected as the BC Regional Chief with the Assembly of First Nations) says the stories of those who lost their language and culture while attending residential schools cannot be ignored.