Public meetings with other First Nations will begin early in the new year as the Tk’emlups and Sechelt Indian Bands continue to seek redress for residential-school day scholars.
Even if no one else joins the campaign, this is a fight Tk’emlups and Sechelt will not abandon, Jo-Anne Gottfriedson said Thursday.
“We will go full steam ahead,” she said.
Gottfriedson is one of 102 people who attended a meeting about the day scholar issue in the Tk’emlups band’s gymnasium on Thursday.
First Nations from across Canada were invited to take part, with chiefs coming from as far away as Manitoba. She said the meeting focused on political strategies and how best to gain support for a class-action lawsuit.
To do this, Tk’emlups and Sechelt will host information sessions with bands that had residential schools while chiefs Shane Gottfriedson and Garry Feschuk will lobby groups like the National First Nations Assembly and the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs, she said.
“There was a lot of interest shown and verbalized,” said Gottfriedson.
Tk’emlups and Sechelt launched the lawsuit against the federal government earlier this year 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 classmates who lived at the schools.
The lawsuit claims an injustice was done to First Nations students who were excluded from the 2007 federal compensation package for former residential school students.
Gottfriedson was a day scholar at the residential school in Kamloops 50 years ago. She’s now co-ordinating the redress efforts for the bands.