Sessions to Assist Those Eligible for Federal Indian Day School Compensation
A community support program helping people navigate the process or verify a filed claim is in Timmins this week
The deadline for people who attended a Federal Indian Day School to file a claim for compensation is approaching. But the arrival of Community Support Sessions in Timmins this week aims to make the process understandable, smooth and emotionally supported for anyone still feeling hesitant.
Individuals who attended federal schools for specific periods of time and were harmed are eligible for compensation. The deadline to apply is July 13.
The Federal Indian Day School Community Support Program offers free one-on-one support services and is taking place in Timmins at the Senator Hotel on April 22 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
“People who haven’t submitted tend to be the ones who are really struggling, it’s hard. It’s a tough thing to get through, for people to tell their stories. Sometimes for the first time. Now more than ever, this program matters because people need to know that they don’t have to go through this alone. We provide wellness support, we provide cultural support, we provide legal support, all for free , to try to make it a one-stop-shop for applicants filling out their form,” said Jill McLean, director of the Indian Day Schools Community Support Program.
McLean pointed out that the process can take longer than a single session, with possible follow-ups by phone, video call or an additional session. The community sessions themselves can also be held virtually for anyone concerned about COVID-19. Appointments can be booked for this week’s session, but program workers are happy to book appointments as well.
Local alumni and other supporting personalities will be on hand to tailor the sessions to the local community and ensure a friendly atmosphere. People who arrive at a session will receive a direct, one-on-one meeting with the goal of feeling personally supported in their efforts, either for their own claim or for a claim on behalf of a deceased relative.
“People show up and walk through the doors, are greeted by a local friendly face and offer people something to eat and something to drink, then walk them through an admissions process,” McLean said, noting that the Admissions process helps establish qualifications for claims.
Sessions are also available for those who have already filed claims to verify their information and status.
One of the goals of the support program is to give those who have been harmed a chance not to settle for the lowest default settlement, with an offer to help establish and testify statements and stories. under oath that would allow for higher claims despite the lack of relevant identification. or other proof (although if these IDs exist, program officers recommend bringing them).
“If someone is worried about saying ‘Hey, I don’t have all the evidence or all the evidence’ or anything like that, they should still come in, they should still submit a form. The process is such that he can fill out a sworn statement and don’t need any of that,” McLean said.
The program also offers aftercare support, ranging from sitting down with an elder afterward, to follow-up phone calls.
In the region, people who attended these schools could be entitled to compensation:
- Albany River – also known as Albany Mission, Albany, or Albany North River – in Kashechewan
- Attawapiskat — also known as Attawapiscat, JR Nakogee
- Constance Lake – also known as Constance Lake Church of England
- Kashechewan School – also known as St. Andrew’s Kashechewan Elementary
- Moose Factory #2 at Moose Factory
- Moose Fort in the Moose Fort Reserve in James Bay
- Moose River, Moose River Post/French Post near Moose Fort
- St. Anne’s – also known as St. Ann’s Fort Albany or Sinclair Island School – in Fort Albany
- Weeneesk – Also known as Weenusk, Weenick, Winisk or Muskegog Keewaytin – in Weenisk (Peawanuck)
The full list with dates is available here.
Those unable to attend this week’s session can call 1-877-515-7525.
To book an appointment in advance for the sessions, follow this link.