Good news Thursday: Canada pays $800 million in reparations to victims of cultural genocide


Marcia Brown Martel began eight years ago a lawsuit claiming damages against the Canadian government for an operation that would come to be known as the “60s scoop.” The Indigenous communities, destabilized by the lasting effects of ghettoization and the cultural genocide program we call the residential schools, were frequent clients of Child & Family Services. Unlike today, placement practices for children removed from their parents’ care had little regard for reunification as a possible goal. Indigenous children were effectively trafficked out of their communities and placed in white, Catholic homes, far away from home. Some were even sold to the United States and various countries in Europe.

Now the Canadian government has announced that it will not only consolidate the various lawsuits filed against it, but will settle for all of them, earmarking $800 million for the remaining survivors.

TORONTO — The federal government has agreed to pay hundreds of millions of dollars to survivors of the ’60s Scoop for the harm suffered by Indigenous children who were robbed of their cultural identities by being placed with non-native families, The Canadian Press has learned.

The national settlement with an estimated 20,000 victims, to be announced Friday by Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett, is aimed at resolving numerous related lawsuits, most notable among them a successful class action in Ontario.

Confidential details of the agreement include a payout of between $25,000 and $50,000 for each claimant, to a maximum of $750 million, sources said.

In addition, sources familiar with the deal said the government would set aside a further $50 million for a new Indigenous Healing Foundation, a key demand of the representative plaintiff in Ontario, Marcia Brown Martel.

Spokespeople for both Bennett and the plaintiffs would only confirm an announcement was pending Friday, but refused to elaborate.

“The (parties) have agreed to work towards a comprehensive resolution and discussions are in progress,” Bennett’s office said in a statement on Thursday. “As the negotiations are ongoing and confidential, we cannot provide further information at this time.”

The sources said the government has also agreed to pay the plaintiffs’ legal fees — estimated at about $75 million — separately, meaning the full amount of the settlement will go to the victims and the healing centre, to be established in the coming months, sources said.

Read more about the settlement here.

-Shiv

Comments

  1. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    I would be happy if each survivor got an amount of money to outright purchase a permanent home in a community where they live. In Vancouver, that would be a settlement of 500,000 to 800,000 per person, not 25k to 50k.

    So yeah, this is about 5-7% of what they would need per person in urban areas, though in rural indigenous communities, it might be 12-25%.

    Maybe I’m wrong, but justice for depriving someone of a home would seem to me to be at the very least making sure that person has a permanent living space that they choose to meet their needs.

    Good news, I guess, that Canada isn’t going to fight the lawsuit anymore. Bad news is that the settlement is completely inadequate … but isn’t that always the way?

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