‘I never thought I would live to see justice’: Indian day school survivors eager for settlement

A plaintiff in the Indian Day Schools Settlement says the agreement and compensation for day school survivors will help many heal from the wounds inflicted on them decades ago.

Claudette Commanda, an Algonquin elder, has been in court for about 10 years now.

“I never thought I would see justice and for me,” she said. “It’s more than justice — it’s validation that the government did wrong…against the First Nations children.”

Individual compensation under the settlement ranges from $10,000 to $200,000, depending on the severity of abuse suffered.

Lead plaintiff Margaret Swan doesn’t believe the money alone will heal wounds, but that the settlement is a step in the right direction.

“There’s never going to be enough money to compensate the damage that’s been done to our people,” Swan told ATPN News. “However, this money that’s being provided to our people will help some of us to a certain degree.”

Commanda wants to see applications and compensation for survivors distributed as soon as possible because some never lived to see justice.

“We don’t want to drag this on because survivors are dying,” she said. “We want to make sure survivors are eligible for their compensation and that they receive their compensation. It belongs to them, period.”

Family members of survivors who have passed away will be able to make estate claims on their behalf.

There will also be a $200 million fund for commemorative projects.

Plaintiffs and the federal government will be meeting in the coming weeks to discuss further details of the settlement.

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