NAN Calls on Prime Minister to End Legal Battles and Meet with St. Anne’s IRS Survivors

OTTAWA, ON: Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) Deputy Grand Chief Anna Betty Achneepineskum today called on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to end Canada’s relentless legal battles against Survivors of the notorious St. Anne’s Indian Residential School and meet with them in the spirt of reconciliation during a press conference in Ottawa:

“The Survivors of St. Anne’s Residential School suffered inconceivable horrors as children, and it is unconscionable that the federal government is retraumatizing them by dragging them through the courts in its relentless effort to deny them justice.

We are proud to stand with Evelyn and all St. Anne’s Survivors and we honour their courage and perseverance throughout this endless process. Many Survivors are in failing health and may pass from this world without ever having the truth or their experiences told, or receiving the justice they deserve.

We are profoundly disappointed that the Prime Minister’s actions have not matched his words when it comes to uncovering the truth about the Indian Residential Schools. Prolonging this senseless legal battle makes a mockery of this government’s commitment to reconciliation. There cannot be reconciliation without justice.

The Prime Minister must accept Canada’s responsibility and fix this, once and for all. He must call off his lawyers and sit down and meet with these Survivors in a good way. I implore him to see their tears, hear their pleas, and do the right thing.”

Achneepineskum was in Ottawa to support St. Anne’s Survivor and advocate Evelyn Korkmaz, who, along with Mushkegowuk Council Deputy Grand Chief Rebecca Friday and Timmins-James Bay MP Charlie Angus, outlined the government’s deplorable legal tactics to deny justice to Survivors.

St. Anne’s was the most notorious of the 139 church-run government-funded Residential Schools across Canada. St. Anne’s was run by the Oblate Catholic nuns in Fort Albany First Nation on the remote James Bay coast. Innocent children were malnourished, physically assaulted, sexually abused, and tortured. They went to bed hungry and lived in fear of a homemade electric chair. Some were forced to eat their own vomit.