The Tk’emlúps and Sechelt Indian bands plan to meet in Kamloops on Thursday to discuss their continuing efforts to seek redress for residential school day scholars.
The two bands have launched a class-action lawsuit on behalf of students who were forced to attend residential schools during the day and experienced the same abuses and loss of culture and language as their classmates who lived at the schools.
“It’s basically Kamloops and Sechelt that are leading the way in every way,” said Jo-Anne Gottfriedson.
Gottfriedson was a day scholar at the Kamloops Indian Residential School 50 years ago and she’s now co-ordinating the redress efforts for the two bands.
She said Thursday’s meeting in the Tk’emlúps band’s gymnasium at 200-355 Yellowhead Highway is open to all First Nations and that the attendees will include chiefs from across B.C., Saskatchewan and Manitoba.
“As we talk about the legal process, there’s opportunity for other First Nations to join us, because when this goes to court it’s ultimately going to affect everyone,” said Gottfriedson.
In August, the two bands filed a class-action suit against the federal government, claiming an injustice was done to the First Nations students who were excluded from the 2007 federal compensation package for former residential school students.
Gottfriedson said about 290 day scholars attended Kamloops Indian Residential School before it closed in 1978.
“We’re basically seeking redress for the loss of language, culture and identity that the aboriginal children suffered,” she said.
“We want to be able to ensure that justice is served.”
Thursday’s meeting runs from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.