NAN, Windigo bring motion for recognition of two residential high schools as "Indian Residential Schools"

    THUNDER BAY, ON, June 10 /CNW/ - Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) and Windigo
First Nations Council (Windigo) have brought a motion before the Ontario
Superior Court of Justice to add Stirland Lake and Cristal Lake Residential
Schools to the list of recognized schools under the Indian Residential Schools
Settlement Agreement (IRSS Agreement).
    "This is the first motion in Canada seeking to compel the addition of
further schools to the IRSS Agreement over the Government of Canada's
objection," said Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) Grand Chief Stan Beardy. "If
successful, it will set a precedent for other similar motions to add
residential schools from across the country."
    The IRSS Agreement provides a process by which former students of an
"Indian Residential School" not currently recognized under that Agreement as
qualifying for compensation can challenge Canada's decision to exclude such
    In the spring of 2008, the Government of Canada rejected Windigo and
NAN's submission to add Stirland Lake and Cristal Lake residential high
schools as "Indian Residential Schools." The federal government claimed these
schools were private Mennonite schools and were not run with direct
involvement by the government.
    "Windigo and NAN are challenging the government's decision, and we will
be asking the Court to add these two schools to the IRSS Agreement," said
Windigo CEO and Council Chair Frank McKay. "If we are successful, then all
former students of Stirland Lake and Cristal Lake will be able to submit
applications for the Common Experience Payment and under the Independent
Assessment Process for those who suffered abuse or mistreatment."
    Windigo and NAN have hired Susan Vella, of Toronto's Rochon Genova LLP,
as their lawyer to advance this motion.

    Nishnawbe Aski Nation is a political territorial organization
representing 49 First Nation communities in James Bay Treaty 9 and Ontario
portions of Treaty 5 - an area covering two thirds of the province of Ontario.

For further information:

For further information: Michael Heintzman, Media Relations Officer -
Nishnawbe Aski Nation, (807) 625-4906 or (807) 621-2790 mobile

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