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Money for Abused Indians
November 24, 2005 permalink
Paul Martin has announced compensation for aboriginals abused in foster care.
In the following article, we show only the paragraphs relating to foster care.
Conference to address aboriginal child abuse
Thursday, November 24, 2005 Posted: 1343 GMT (2143 HKT)
KELOWNA, British Columbia (AP) -- In an unprecedented summit, Canada's leaders will sit with aboriginal chiefs Thursday to settle outstanding claims of child abuse and treaty violations -- termed by one native leader "a national tragedy."
But Fontaine hailed a proposal by Ottawa to give more than $1.7 billion in cash payments to atone for decades of abuse of First Nations children forced to attend Christian residential schools.
Some worry that any progress made at the conference could be washed away when the opposition in Parliament is expected to topple Martin and his minority government in a vote of no-confidence, after he refused to call early national elections.
If the school abuse deal is approved in court, survivors of rape, beatings and cultural isolation would likely be paid by the end of 2006, though the average abusive victim is now 60 and many are sick or dying.
"It is an agreement for the ages," said Fontaine, who was one of the first to go public with his own story of sexual abuse at the Fort Alexander School in Manitoba.
"We hope the settlement package will bring comfort and a sense of victory and vindication for the children and grandchildren of survivors as well," he said.
That history has long been cited by aboriginal leaders as the root cause of epidemic rates of alcoholism and drug addiction on reserves.
The agreement is open to more than 80,000 former students who can apply to receive $2,560 for each year spent in the once-mandatory system meant to "Christianize" native kids.
Almost 15,000 people have sued for damages since Ottawa acknowledged in 1998 that abuse was rampant in the schools. During much of the last century, about 100,000 First Nations children, aged 4 to 18, were sent to Christian residential schools in nearly every province.