Three days of free help filling out Day School applications in Saskatoon
- NC Raine | May 12, 2021
Former Indian Day School students who want help filling out claim applications or tracking existing claims can get it at the Saskatoon Inn from Thursday May 13 to Saturday May 15.
The Indian Day School Community Support program provides free, one-on-one help.
“It can be a really overwhelming process,” said program spokesperson Krystal Summers.
“We're here to connect with community members, making progress on their claim and doing it in an environment that feels safe and supportive. That can be an important step in someone's healing journey, to do it with this kind of support in place,” she said.
The claim form requires a detailed narrative, which is traumatic for many former students, so local Elders and Indigenous Mental Health workers will be on hand to provide psychological support.
“One of the pillars of our program is to do things from a trauma-informed and culturally safe way. That is what grounds our work. So it's really important to have those local cultural supports, those Elders, on site,” said Summers.
Many Day School students suffered abuses similar to those of Residential School children. The impacts are often long-lasting and intergenerational, she said.
In 2009, Garry McLean sued the federal government for forcing Indigenous children to attend Indian Day Schools across Canada. First Nations, Métis, and Inuit children were subjected to efforts to assimilate them into settler culture by stripping them of their Indigenous language, culture, and identity. In 2019, the federal government approved the settlement to compensate survivors.
In Saskatchewan, there were 91 Indian Day Schools run by the federal government. The earliest began in 1878 at Ahtahkakoops First Nation, John Smith Cree Nation, and Red Pheasant First Nation. The most recent was at Piapot, which closed November 1, 1997.
Summers said she expects 20-25 people per day to come for services during the three days in Saskatoon.