Magazine article Anglican Journal

Payment Recognizes Harm to Native People

Magazine article Anglican Journal

Payment Recognizes Harm to Native People

Article excerpt

Mississauga, Ont.

The new plan to compensate all former students of Indian residential schools represents an acknowledgment by the federal government that native culture and languages were harmed by the now-defunct educational system, said former Supreme Court justice Frank Iacobucci, who negotiated the plan on behalf of Ottawa.

The so-called "common experience payment" represents a change by the government "to recognize the kind of deprivation students suffered at the schools," he said in an interview after giving Council of General Synod (CoGS) an inside look at the talks that led to an agreement last November among Ottawa, churches and native groups.

The payment is not a direct admission of harm by the government because no court has recognized "loss of language and culture" as a basis for legal action, he noted. But it is an "very deep issue for native people," he acknowledged.

Archdeacon Sidney Black, co-chair of the Anglican Council of Indigenous Peoples, said that "for us, as survivors of the schools, it is indeed good news, in the most spiritual expression of receiving good news. …

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