B.C. aboriginals hope to represent residential school day students in lawsuit

VANCOUVER – Two First Nations in British Columbia are looking to take the federal government to court on behalf of all the former day students of the country’s notorious residential school system.

The Tk’emlups te Secwepemc and Shishalh bands are asking permission from the federal court to launch a class-action suit representing aboriginal children who attended residential schools but returned to their families at night.

In 2008, the Canadian government formally apologized for the residential school system, but it did not provide compensation to the day students who attended the schools alongside residential students.

The lawsuit alleges day students suffered the same loss of cultural connection and language as their residential counterparts, who did receive compensation.

It argues that the program was an intentional element of Canada’s education policy and resulted in serious and life-long harm to survivors.

Hearings start Monday to certify the class-action suit, the allegations of which have not been proven in court.

Justice Sean Harrington will ultimately decide whether the two bands should be allowed to speak for all of Canada’s former aboriginal day students.

The Canadian Press





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