The Canadian government has announced a multi-billion dollar settlement related to collective damage caused by residential schools.
As Dan Karpenchuk reports, the government says the settlement refers to unfinished business from two years go.
The class action lawsuit was brought by two British Columbia First Nations.
It originally contained several classes of complaints, but two years ago all parties agreed to focus on the initial settlement efforts on survivors and their descendants.
That, they said, was to ensure they would get compensation during their lifetimes.
The lawsuit was launched more than a decade ago in a bid for justice for day scholars, who were abused while attending residential schools, but who were no eligible for the 2006 settlement for full time students.
It also represents 325 Indigenous First Nations across Canada.
It’s the first time Ottawa is compensating bands and communities as a collective for the damages related to residential schools.
Here’s crown Indigenous affairs minister Marc Miller.
“While settlements that are being announced like these today do not erase or make up for the past, what it can do is help address the collective harm caused by Canada’s past.”
Miller says the settlement is being guided by several key issues the revival and protection of Indigenous language, and culture, the protection and promotion of heritage and the wellness of Indigenous communities and their people.
Individual bands will decide on which of those pillars to focus and will develop ten year implementation plans.
Miller says the $2.8 billion settlement will be put in an independent, not-for-profit trust.
More terms for the settlement will be released next month, and approval will take place at the end of February, followed by an appeal period.
A small lot in downtown Juneau is at the center of a dispute between the state of Alaska and the U.S. Department of the Interior. It’s the latest development in a years-long land back effort by the Central Council of the Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes.
KTOO’s Katie Anastas reports.
Tlingit and Haida President Chalyee Éesh Richard Peterson recently signed a deed to place a small parcel of land into federal trust.
It essentially creates Indian Country – a small spot where tribal law would apply.
The lot is less than 800-square feet. But Peterson says the decision is about more than just the land. It’s about tribal sovereignty and self-determination.
“These lands were unlawfully and illegally taken through the years. We’ve legally and lawfully tried to get them back.”
The State of Alaska is challenging the decision in court, saying it undermines key terms of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act by creating a reservation.
Rules around whether Alaska Native tribes can put land into trust have changed with presidential administrations over the last several years.
Under the Obama administration, Alaska Native tribes were allowed to submit applications for the first time since 1980. And in 2017, the Craig Tribal Association became the first Alaska Native tribe to have an application approved.
But under the Trump administration, the Interior Department withdrew the revision. Then, under the Biden Administration the department issued a new opinion, allowing land to be put into trust for Alaska Native tribes again.
Peterson says the state’s lawsuit is setting the relationship between the state and tribes back.
“This endangers all applications for future land to trust for all tribes, not just Juneau, not just an urban center, but all the rural applications.”
The Interior Department also has pending applications from two other tribes in Alaska.
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