Legal support sessions to be held for Indian Day School class action members

An estimated 140,000 First Nations, Metis and Inuit entitled to compensation

Students at Cape Dorset (Kinngait) Federal Hostel, in April 1964. The Law Society of Nunavut, Tukisigiarvik Society and Nunavut Legal Aid are hosting support sessions for day school survivors and families hoping to claim compensation for abuse in those schools as part of a 2019 settlement with the federal government. (Library and Archives Canada)

By Jeff Pelletier

Free legal support sessions for survivors and family members seeking compensation for abuse suffered in the Indian Day School system will be offered in Iqaluit and Rankin Inlet.

The compensation is part of a 2019 settlement from a class action lawsuit against the federal government over mistreatment of residents in the system.

An estimated 140,000 First Nations, Métis and Inuit are entitled to it for having experienced physical, sexual and psychological abuse in the schools from the late 1800s until 2000, according to a Law Society of Nunavut news release.

It worked with Tukisigiarvik Society and Nunavut Legal Aid to organize the sessions after survivors and families reported having trouble figuring out if they were eligible for compensation and how to apply, said law society president Nalini Vaddapalli.

“I would just encourage anyone who is unsure, needs some guidance, just to reach out to us so we can provide information and give them a chance to file a claim if they’re eligible,” she said.

With a July 13 deadline to apply, Vaddapalli said she wants to ensure people can have their questions answered so they get the compensation they are entitled to.

In-person sessions are scheduled for Iqaluit on April 12 and May 14 from 10:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Tukisigiarvik Society office.

There will also be a session in Rankin Inlet in early May, with date and location to be determined. Nunavut residents from other communities can get support over the phone at 867-222-5345.

Vaddapalli said the sessions will be held to answer questions, with services in English and Inuktitut.

“There was a significant gap with respect to the support that was being offered through the claim council,” she said.

“We can provide that direct support to family members … just filling in that important gap that we’re aware of in our territory.”

In addition to survivors being eligible for compensation, there are a few scenarios for which their families may claim compensation on their behalf, Vaddapalli said.

If a survivor has died, with or without a will, their family may receive compensation.

For survivors who are living but unwell or unable to apply for compensation on their own, a power of attorney may go through the processes on their behalf.

“These sessions are open to all family members or friends of a family member who would like to submit a claim, and we will provide free legal support to assist them in getting the paperwork altogether,” Vaddapalli said.

“Once the paperwork has been gathered … the lawyers will take over the file and take the appropriate steps.”

 

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(3) Comments:

  1. Posted by Andre Tautu on

    My Claim I.D.# EEN-00089148, Level 5 – Indian Day School – Action Settlement

    They had not responded to my application, except that they will get back to me in 90 days. their correspondence was date, January 18, 2022.

    Andre Tautu

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  2. Posted by AQ on

    With just a little over 3 months to apply, time is the biggest obstacle, especially for those family/friends of the survivors who have died, who want to apply on their behalf. No help was ever offered by anyone or group, until the Nunavut Law Society received some funding to hire some lawyers to help survivors, especially those that may need power of attorney. One only has to look at the Nunavut Statistics on the number of deaths, since 2007 that show potential applicants that have passed away. It is this group of federal day school survivors, that have died since 2007 to now, whose family/friends need to biggest help. The Nunavut Government or any of the Inuit organizations have don’t nothing to help. I would strongly recommend that Nunavut Government. ITK, NTI and regional DIOs ask the Federal Government to extend the deadline for at least a year.

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  3. Posted by Rene Tautu on

    My IAP claim was denied although i applied just before the deadline in January 2020. My lawyer has been working hard to get my claim approved, but i am unsure what is going on as very little communication has been passed down to me regarding my claim. It’s been over two year’s since i applied. Fristrating to be kept in the dark this long!!!

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