After two days of hearings for the proposed $875-million Sixties Scoop settlement a Federal Court Judge has approved agreement-in-principle.
The decision came early Friday evening.
Judge Michel Shore told the court he would provide a more detailed decision at a later date.
After two days of hearings, many survivors say they felt dissatisfied with the process.
Despite nearly 200 survivors filling a makeshift courtroom in a downtown Saskatoon hotel, only roughly 30 men and women got to voice their objections on Thursday.
The hearings were scheduled for two days, but survivors found out Shore would only listen to their objections for one day.
“It was supposed to be two days and then we were told [Thursday] it’s only one day,” said survivor Coleen Rajotte. “Today they’re hearing arguments around the $75-million fees around the lawyers.
“So, today is a day for the lawyers… this is not a day for survivors.”
On Friday Shore heard from some of the law firms included in the settlement as well as other law firms objecting it.
One of the four law firms included in the settlement argued $75-million was a reasonable amount – even about 20 per cent less than what law firms have received in other class-action lawsuits.
Rajotte drove from Winnipeg to voice her objections.
Since March she has been working with a group of survivors in Manitoba to object to the settlement.
The group has travelled to First Nations in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta and spoke with dozens of survivors.
She says she was disappointed to learn survivors were given a time limit to speak.
Shore told the crowd they had three minutes to voice their objections.
“This is our first opportunity to appear in a courtroom setting where a judge is presiding over the objections, and you would think he would want to know a little bit about our stories,” said Rajotte.
Shore warned survivors if personal stories were included he would have to interrupt because they did not relate to the settlement at hand.
In his opening statement on Friday, Shore sympathized with survivors but said, “this wasn’t the venue to tell your stories. Your stories should be told for hours and for days.”
He touted the proposed $50-millon healing foundation as the place to share stories. The foundation is included as part of the agreement-in-principle put forth by the federal government last October.
The $875-million settlement would see a maximum of $750-million for individual survivors plus $50-million for a healing foundation and another $75-million for lawyer fees.
Not included in the settlement are the Metis people and non-status Aboriginals.
Robert Doucette is a Metis Sixties Scoop survivor and has been vocal about the exclusion of the Metis people in the settlement.
He says the hearings have re-traumatized him and left him with little faith survivors concerns have been taken seriously.
“It’s sad how we’ve been treated in the last 50-60 years and it’s sad how we’ve been treated today,” said Doucette.
“It’s my prediction that they’re just going to ram this agreement through. They had made up their mind already.”
For Rajotte, the hearings brought back memories of being scooped as a child.
“We weren’t consulted so everything is set up in basically the colonizers way,” she said.
“And once again we were being told what to do.”