KAMLOOPS, B.C. – Three First Nations say they have reached a memorandum of understanding with the federal government that could keep their bid to include day students in a settlement for residential school survivors out of court.
The Tk’emlups (teh-cum-loops) and Sechelt (sea-chelt) bands in British Columbia launched a class-action lawsuit in 2012 after a settlement between the government and about 86-thousand residential school survivors excluded day scholars, students who attended the schools but did not live at them.
They were later joined in the lawsuit by the Grand Council of the Crees, whose people live in eastern James Bay and Southern Hudson Bay in northern Quebec.
The First Nations say the memorandum commits both sides to resolve the case without going to court by finding a fair settlement in a timely manner.
Jo-Anne Gottfriedson, the Tk’emlups day scholar co-ordinator, says it’s hoped this development will allow the First Nations to avoid a legal fight.
The Department of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs could not immediately comment on the statement issued by the First Nations.
Gottfriedson estimates about 70,000 Indigenous people qualify as day scholars.