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Regional Chief Isadore Day Statement: Real Reconciliation means Justice for Residential School Survivors

(Toronto, January 15, 2018) “Today, three survivors from St. Anne’s Residential School, where some of the most horrific abuses took place upon children taken from their families, are once again speaking out for justice. First, I want to commend these survivors for their courage in reliving these painful memories so that all Canadians can understand why there will be no healing without the truth being revealed, and real reconciliation taking place.

 To quote Stella Chapman at this morning's press conference: "No child should ever have to live through the horrors that we did at St. Anne's. We still stand together. We are forced to tell our individual stories and be tested over and over again. But the government will not admit the truth about what happened to us as children."

 In this case, as with many more similar cases across the country, politicians stick to their speaking points on reconciliation and creating new relationships, while bureaucrats and lawyers continue to battle our Peoples every step of the way. At last month’s court hearing, federal lawyers stated that St. Anne’s survivors would have to pay their own court costs. This is simply unacceptable and reprehensible.

 Last May, Minister Carolyn Bennett told a delegation of Ontario Chiefs that the government does not want to be in court fighting survivors. This statement was made in regard to the 260 former students from Teulon Residential School who are still being denied compensation. The Teulon survivors also want to stay out of court in order to negotiate their just settlements.

I am calling on Minister Bennett to do what is right and just - we must find a way to reach a resolve without re-victimizing the survivors.

Today, I am standing with all survivors who are still seeking justice and some measure of compensation that will never replace the pain and suffering they endured as children. Today, we are telling Canada to do the right thing. End this nightmare in the courts and finally allow these survivors some measure of peace in their remaining lifetimes. This is true Reconciliation.”

 Ontario Regional Chief Isadore Day

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The Chiefs of Ontario is a political forum and a secretariat for collective decision making, action, and advocacy for the 133 First Nation communities located within the boundaries of the province of Ontario, Canada. Follow Chiefs of Ontario on Facebook or Twitter @ChiefsOfOntario.

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