Canada Continues to Shred the Rights of St. Ann’s Survivors

Treaty No.9, Fort Albany First Nation, Ontario…The survivors of St. Anne’s Residential school are rejecting Ottawa’s independent review outright. The survivors are currently in a legal process and any interference from Canada with their legal fight in seeking justice is inappropriate. Survivor and Board member of Peetabeck Keway Keykaywin Association (PKKA), Greg Spence has maintained that St. Anne’s residential school survivors deserve justice and their stories to be validated and their truths to be told.

“Canada hasn’t consulted the survivors with any meaningful dialogue on this new process and without their duty to consult in good faith. They failed St. Anne’s survivors on how they want to be engaged on this highly sensitive and dark chapter, which is Canada’s shared historical chapter, said Leo Ashamock, PKKA Board member. We reject Minister Bennett’s offer as it minimizes the rights of survivors and access to a fair and just review.”

On further evaluation of Canada’s offer of an independent review, we found that it focused only on a handful of St. Anne’s survivors. This would close the door on possibly hundreds of survivors impacted with the introduction of new information. It takes away from their right to choose through a new legal process.

“We stand with St. Anne’s survivors in their battle for justice, and we honour their courage and perseverance throughout this lengthy legal process. We are extremely disappointed with the underhanded legal tactics by the Government of Canada to deny the justice that these survivors so rightfully deserve. Prolonging this senseless legal battle with false promises of an independent review makes a mockery of this government’s commitment to reconciliation. I implore Minster Bennett to direct her officials do the right thing, ”said Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler, Nishnawbe Aski Nation.

Canada funded St. Anne’s Residential School from 1906 to 1976 in Fort Albany, Ontario. The former residential school was notorious for being the worst among the government operated schools and was known to have a home-made electrocution chair. The remaining survivors of St. Anne’s have suffered re-traumatization and deserve better from Canada. There’s no justice or reconciliation for the First Peoples in Canada until this contentious and horrific chapter has been settled.

Peetabeck Keway Keykaywin means “Fort Albany back to healing”. Fort Albany First Nation is located in Northeastern Ontario on the James Bay coast. It is a signatory to Treaty No.9 and a member of Mushkegowuk Council.

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Michael Heintzman, Director of Communications
Nishnawbe Aski Nation
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