“Whose Settlement?” offers crash course on residential schools and 60s Scoop settlement

By Greg Duck Posted: October 11, 2019 3:30 p.m.

First Nations University of Canada was the host of the inaugural “Whose Settlement?” conference, offering programming to educate about settlement agreements of Indian residential schools and the 60s Scoop.
First Nations University of Canada was the host of the inaugural “Whose Settlement?” conference, offering programming to educate about settlement agreements of Indian residential schools and the 60s Scoop. University Advancement and Communications

With clean drinking water on reserves and compensation payments for residential school survivors among the many political issues impacting Indigenous peoples during the upcoming federal election, a thorough understanding of settlement agreements has relevance for all Canadians.

The inaugural Whose Settlement? conference, hosted by First Nations University of Canada (FNUC) and the University of Regina, took place on October 10 and 11 at FNUC. The national conference included workshops, panel discussions, and sessions by many key voices in Indigenous research and relations at the provincial and national level. Panelists and presenters included Ry Moran, Director of the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation, Dan Shapiro, Chief Adjudicator of the Indian Residential School Adjudication Secretariat, and Caron George, Adjudicator with the Independent Assessment Process (IAP). Attendees from many backgrounds and professions took in the conference to better familiarize themselves with the IAP and the 60s Scoop, which were the focus of the conference’s programming.

“Some of you are residential school survivors, lawyers, from government, Elders, Knowledge Keepers, or students. You are all at different places, but are all coming here to learn together,” said Dr. Cindy Hanson, presenter and co-conference convener.

The IAP was set up as part of the Indian Residential School Settlement to resolve claims made by residential school survivors. With more than 38,000 claims made and $3 billion paid out so far, the claims are nearly finished, but are still largely unheard of by Canadians. Much of the conference’s programming sought to raise awareness and understanding about the intricacies of the IAP.

“Statistics have shown that more than half of Canadians still don’t know what the Truth and Reconciliation Commission is, and even less know about IAP,” said Hanson. “With so many people impacted and that much money paid out, it is important to build a record of what really happened in those schools.”

Kicking off the second day of the conference was a keynote speech by Dr. Cindy Blackstock, Professor of Social Work at McGill University and Executive Director First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada. Her presentation, Is it Genocide: A history of First Nations child welfare in Canada, offered a historical view of how Indigenous children in Canada have been disadvantaged and discriminated against. Blackstock, considered a prominent voice for First Nations equality, also offered her recommendations for how to avoid repeating past mistakes.

“I’m not here to tell you who to vote for in the upcoming election…I’m here to tell you what ideas to vote for,” said Blackstock. “We can’t afford to lose another generation of children.”

Dr. Allyson Stevenson, a Tier 2 Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Peoples and Global Social Justice and a member of the University of Regina’s Department of Politics and International Studies, was one of the conference’s other co-convener. She envisioned the conference out of the need for more education regarding settlement agreements within our country.

“So many new agreements are coming into place, and so much is happening at the provincial and federal level. This conference was created to engage and enlighten the issues surrounding these agreements,” said Stevenson. “Bringing these issues to the forefront allows people to have a better understanding and the background to make better decisions.”

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Dr. Cindy Hanson presenting on
Indian Residential Schools
Settlement Agreement and the IAP
Dr. Allyson Stevenson's workshop
60s Scoop Settlement Agreement
Dr. Cindy Blackstock's
keynote speech

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