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NAN Supports St. Anne’s Residential School Survivors’ Fight for Justice
TORONTO, ON (March 24, 2017): Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler supports the continued fight for justice by Indian Residential School Survivors during the St. Anne’s Residential School Independent Assessment Process (IAP) and Edmund Metatawabin legal proceedings in Toronto today.
“This prolonged legal battle has been a long and difficult process and I am proud to support the courageous fight by Edmund and all Survivors to reveal the truth and receive the compensation they rightfully deserve,” said Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler. “There is no denying or erasing the offences that have permanently scarred so many First Nations people who attend St. Anne’s Residential School. We are left to ask how many other documents exist and are in the possession of federal officials in the Department of Justice, that haven’t been brought forward, not just from St. Anne’s but from other Residential Schools across Canada.”
The Government of Canada is challenging the ‘standing’ of St. Anne’s Survivor Edmund Metatawabin and another claimant to bring these issues to the Court. The federal government is also challenging whether the Court has the power to force the federal government to do anything for breach of the settlement agreement. The lawyers for the federal government are trying to force individual IAP claimants to have to take on the federal government one by one.
Edmund is fighting to force the government lawyers to reveal the evidence in their possession from about 1000 Former students, that each IAP claimant was supposed to have before he/she was heard. The IAP adjudicators are supposed to have full prior disclosure of the evidence in the possession of federal officials about the sexual and physical abuse at St. Anne’s, gathered by the Ontario Provincial Police in signed statements, testimony in criminal trials against supervisors and sworn testimony in civil actions. The Government lawyers and lawyers for the Catholic Church had all this evidence but withheld it from IAP claims.
“St. Anne’s Survivors suffered sexual and physical abuse as children and others do not want to believe that it’s true. But, sadly, it is true. Survivors have told their stories to the police, the courts and the lawyers for the Government and Catholic Church. We have respected all the legal processes they have put us through,” said Edmund Metatawabin. “Today, the Department of Justice are challenging me to not be accepted to speak on behalf of my people. We will not remain silent this time.”
For many decades, there was horrific abuse towards the children at St. Anne’s. Before the settlement agreement was signed in 2006, Department of Justice lawyers and lawyers for the Catholic Church had the evidence of “1,000 former students”.
“We have proven that the Department of Justice lawyers have violated our rights once again and corrupted even some of our own lawyers to act against our best interests,” said Metatawabin. “Will the Court fulfill its promise to enforce this settlement agreement against federal officials? Will the Court investigate these lawyers and why our rights were violated again? Will we be given the justice we were promised? That is what we are asking the Court to do.”
After the settlement agreement was signed in 2006, in the confidential IAP process, each St. Anne’s survivor was supposed to have all that information about abuse disclosed to his/her IAP adjudicator from Canada, prior the St. Anne’s survivor being questioned.
For more information please contact: Tamara Piché, Communications Officer – Nishnawbe Aski Nation
(807) 625-4906 or cell (807) 621-5549 or by email firstname.lastname@example.org
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