Six Nations of the Grand River file motion to extend Indian Day School application deadline

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Six Nations of the Grand River file motion to extend Indian Day School application deadline's Profile


Six Nations of the Grand River in Ont. asked the courts to extend the application deadline for Indian Day School (IDS) survivors earlier this week.

Applications for those who apply are due on Jan. 13, 2023 but community leaders say they want an extension until Dec. 31, 2025.

Leadership within the Haudenosaunee community said the process for filing the McLean Day School settlement was far too rushed and lacked any culturally appropriate support for day school survivors sharing their stories.

“We’re doing everything in our power to get this deadline extended so we can work with the necessary parties so we can get this information to our community members,” said Six Nations of the Grand River Chief Mark Hill.

The Indian Day School system was a series of federally run schools where some students faced sexual, physical and emotional abuse.

A 2019 Class Action Settlement saw nearly 200,000 IDS survivors across Canada apply for different levels of compensation based on the levels of harm the students experienced in the school.

Mark said a two year timeline during the pandemic prevented community leadership from supporting its residents.

He said Six Nation leadership was focused on guiding the community through the pandemic and Mark worries the estimated 15,000 survivors in the community weren’t properly informed of the application process.

“We have a lot of people who are homeless, some are incarcerated and we have a lot of people with extenuating circumstances and I feel we have to do a better job of reaching out,” said Mark.

The applications called on IDS survivors to disclose their traumas to receive tiered payments from level one to level five.

Mark said trauma takes time to process and disclose and feared some community members just weren’t ready to share their stories.

“We’re dealing with human lives here,” he said.

He said he believes with another the extension more residents might be ready.

Mark said the residential school survivor settlement allowed for five years where as the day school application process was just two years. 

Although the residential school survivors’ process had its own flaws, Mark said he hoped the disclosure process would have learned from it and applied those lessons to the day school process.

An Indigenous woman wears glasses wearing a black top.
Audrey Hill is an Indian Day School Survivor and says writing the narrative disclosure left her in tears. She wants to see an extension for survivors because enough supports weren’t offered for survivors during the pandemic. (submitted by Audrey hill)

Fellow class member Audrey Hill said by phone that the process was seriously flawed.

Audrey is a residential school survivor and an Indian Day School survivor. After writing her Day School narrative for her application she struggled with her flashbacks. 

“You can’t just deal with it with a disembodied telephone voice,” said Audrey.

She said survivors needed a balance of western and cultural supports but the application process failed to bring in adequate cultural supports. 

Hill said she’s helped 24 other IDS survivors with their applications. Some survivors still struggle to write their own narratives, some still need proper identification to apply and more culture supports are still needed, Audrey said.

“We need to go to them and tell them, ‘Will help you through this whole process, right from the start till closure,'” she said.

In a statement the Ministry of Crown Indigenous Relations told CBC News over 177,000 claims were made and 122,000 survivors received compensation through the McLean Day School settlement, and said an Exceptions Committee would be reviewing extension claims.

“Canada cannot unilaterally amend the claims period deadline, and such questions should be determined by class counsel,” the statement said.



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