Indian Life Newspaper -

Trudeau to apologize for residential schools in Newfoundland and Labrador


Last updated 10/5/2017 at 1:50pm

Heidi Blomser,

ST. JOHN'S, NF-A $50-million settlement was reached in May between the federal government and hundreds of students who attended residential schools in Newfoundland and Labrador, ending a 10-year legal battle.

The Prime Minister's Office confirms that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will apologize in Labrador. An exact date and location have not been confirmed, but an update is expected soon.

Starting in the late 19th century, about 30% of children of Canada's native peoples, or about 150,000 children, were placed in what were known as "residential schools" in a government attempt to strip them of their traditional cultures and ancestral languages.

Canada's Truth and Reconciliation Commission said in a 2015 report that the practice, which kept children from the First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples far from their parents, amounted to "cultural genocide."

"Ultimately, it's the right thing to do," said Cameron Ahmad, a spokesman for the prime minister. "We're committed to reconciliation. We're committed to implementing the calls to action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission... that's why we made this decision."

Former Prime Minister Stephen Harper excluded the province's former residential schools from a national apology and compensation package in 2008. But lawyers for about 800 former students argued Ottawa owed the same duty of care to them after the province joined Confederation in 1949.

The government under Trudeau offered a $50-million package to settle claims of sexual and physical abuse along with loss of language and culture.


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