Update to Membership on this historical day, March 9, 2023 regarding the Gottfriedson Reparations Class Action. The lawsuit says that the Government of Canada is responsible for the collective damages to First Nations caused by the IRS system that includes the collective loss of language and culture.
CHIEF SHANE GOTTFRIEDSON, on behalf of the TK’EMLUPS TE SECWEPEMC INDIAN BAND and the TK’EMLUPS TE SECWEPEMC INDIAN BAND, and CHIEF GARRY FESCHUK, on behalf of the SECHELT INDIAN BAND and the SECHELT INDIAN BAND and HIS MAJESTY THE KING IN RIGHT OF CANADA as represented by THE ATTORNEY GENERAL OF CANADA has reached an agreement, that has been approved by the Federal Court as being fair, reasonable, and in the best interests of the 325 First Nation band class members who have opted in.
In Justice McDonald’s concluding statement, she stated the following:
This has been a long-standing class proceeding, since 2012. Justice McDonald also stated that, “The Settlement Agreement provides certainty, recovery, and closure for the Band Class members. These results could not be guaranteed if the litigation were to proceed to trial.” For that we are grateful and for the outcome of the proposed settlement.
The Band Class Reparations settlement is significant for a number of reasons:
- The $2.8 billion dollar settlement is one of the very largest class action settlements in Canadian – history;
- It is the first successful lawsuit that addresses the harms caused by residential schools to First – Nations as collectives.
- It is the first settlement to address damages for the destruction of language and culture.
- The settlement involves a unique structure that involves a 20 year trust for the benefit of each of the – 325 First Nation class members. Each First Nation class member will receive funds from the trust in the – form of planning funds, kick-start funds, annual income and a final payment after 20 years.
The settlement is based on Four Pillars which aim to reverse the collective harms caused by Residential Schools:
- Revival and protection of Indigenous languages;
- Revival and protection of Indigenous cultures;
- Protection and promotion of heritage; and
- Wellness for Indigenous communities and their members.
This settlement gives us the tools necessary to take control of revitalizing our languages and culture. It will leave a generational legacy and puts us in charge of our own healing.
We look forward to in-depth dialogue and working together for real change and creating a lasting legacy with our people and for our future generations.
On behalf of council, we want to acknowledge and honor all those who have been on this journey for our people, our survivors, and express much gratitude and look forward to honoring and working with all of you.