The federal government and 325 First Nations have agreed to a $2.8 billion settlement in a class action lawsuit seeking compensation for the loss of language and culture brought on by residential schools, according to announcements made on Saturday.
If the Federal Court approves the settlement, Canada agrees to deposit the $2.8 billion into a new trust fund that will last for 20 years. Officials have stated that the fund will be managed independently of the federal government.
Marc Miller, the minister for Crown-Indigenous relations, said at an event in Vancouver on Saturday morning that “settlements like those announced today… do not make up for the past, what it can do is address the collective pain created by Canada’s past.” “Language loss, culture loss, and heritage loss.”
The money will assist the four pillars of revitalization, protection, promotion, and well-being of Indigenous languages and traditions, according to Miller, who highlighted that this was the first-time bands, in particular, were being reimbursed.
According to officials, the plaintiffs in the case, which was initially brought by the Tk’emlps te Secwépemc and shshálh Nation in British Columbia, created a payment plan for the money.
It originally included the day scholars’ claim from the residential school and the band class’s joint restitution petition. Day students are survivors who were made to spend the day at the institutions but departed for home at night; they were not included in the 2006 residential schools settlement.
In June 2021, the Trudeau administration and day scholars came to an out-of-court agreement whereby the former agreed to make cash settlements to survivors and their heirs, thus partially resolving the Gottfriedson issue.
The band class members agreed to “completely, finally and forever” release the Crown from claims that might result from the harm that residential schools allegedly caused First Nations as part of the agreement.
According to the agreement, any claims that may be made regarding children who passed away or went missing while being compelled to attend a residential school are not covered by this legal release.