Less than a month after an August court ruling that set out criteria for adding institutions to the official list of residential schools under the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement (IRSSA), the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs (AMC) has announced legal action to add one in Teulon.
“Canada does not recognize the Teulon Residence and claim[s] they were not responsible for the operation of these schools,” said Grand Chief Derek Nepinak in a statement. “This argument does not hold water for the AMC. The national policy of assimilation allowed religious organizations to become the agents of government in the promotion and operation of these schools.”
The residential school system ran from the 1870s through the 1990s. During it, aboriginal children were taken from their families and forced to eschew their culture and language and learn European ways and sensibilities. An estimated 150,000 were taken to 130 schools across the country. Many suffered abuse and molestation. About 80,000 former students survive today.
Aboriginals took the federal government to court and won, receiving restitution and an official apology from Prime Minister Stephen Harper in 2008.
At the end of August, two schools were added to the list—Stirland Lake and Cristal Lake residential high schools, both in Ontario—by a court ruling that in essence laid out what was necessary for a school to qualify.
The AMC said it has been trying to get the Teulon school recognized since 2007. Former students of a qualified school are eligible for compensation.