Justice for Day Scholars
The Representative Plaintiffs in the class action of Gottfriedson v. Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada are pleased to announce that they have signed a settlement agreement with Canada on behalf of Day Scholars and their children. This settlement is a long-awaited step towards justice for those who attended residential schools as Day Scholars and their children; it means that, finally, no survivor of a residential school will be left behind.
Day Scholars are students who attended a federally owned and operated residential school during the day but did not sleep there. Day Scholars suffered the same destruction of language and culture as other students at residential schools, but were unjustly excluded from the 2006 Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement. After years of denial by the Canadian government, this settlement means that the losses suffered by Day Scholars and their children are finally being acknowledged.
This settlement includes $10,000 for each eligible Day Scholar and provides $50 million for a Day Scholars Revitalization Fund to support healing and linguistic and cultural reclamation for Day Scholars and their children. All Day Scholars who were alive as of May 30, 2005, are included in the settlement. In cases where a Day Scholar has died since May 30, 2005, their families or estates are able to apply on their behalf. Further details can be found on the www.justicefordayscholars.com website.
Before compensation can begin, the Federal Court must first determine if this settlement is fair, reasonable and in the best interests of Class Members. A settlement approval hearing is scheduled to begin on September 7, 2021.
This proposed settlement does not affect the claims of the Band Class regarding the collective losses suffered by Indigenous communities as a result of the destruction of language and culture caused by residential schools – those claims will continue on to trial in the latter half of 2022.
Diena Jules, Day Scholar and Survivor Class Representative Plaintiff, Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc:
“I suffered a lot as a Day Scholar at Kamloops Indian Residential School. I was taught to feel that I did not belong with Secwépemc people practicing my culture and traditions, and became disconnected from my family and community. I lost my language, my cultural pride, and my own identity. I am proud that we stood up for ourselves and for our people, and that now, after many years, our experiences are being recognized and compensated.”
Charlotte Gilbert, Day Scholar and Survivor Class Representative Plaintiff, Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc:
“To me, this settlement means Canada is finally recognizing that Day Scholars also suffered at residential schools. We are finally glad to see this recognition 14 years after the residential school settlement.”
Rita Poulsen, Daughter of a Day Scholar, and Descendant Class Representative Plaintiff, Shíshálh Nation:
“No one lawsuit can change what happened to my father, or to us as his children. It cannot replace what we have lost. But my hope is that this settlement announced today can help put us on a good path towards healing and towards revitalizing our languages and cultures so that my children and grand-children will speak Sháshíshálhem and be proud upholders of our culture.”
For more information on the Day Scholars settlement agreement, please visit www.justicefordayscholars.com.