Media Centre

Common Experience Applications Mailed to Former Residential School Students

NR 07-16 CEP ENG Common Experience Payment Applications.doc

(September 6, 2007 — Iqaluit, Nunavut) Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. President Paul Kaludjak today said Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. would continue to assist Inuit with the Residential School Settlement Agreement process.

The Residential Schools Settlement Agreement opt out period ended last month. Application form for the common experience payment will be mailed to former students on September 20, 2007. Because the form is complex, the Government of Canada is sending Inuktitut-speaking representatives to all Nunavut communities to assist Inuit in filling out the form in September and October, 2007.

Former students can work with the federal government representatives to complete the applications form, or former students can decide to fill out the form on their own.

When NTI got involved in the residential school file more than two years ago, we made a commitment to former students to provide as much support as possible during this complicated and emotional process, said Kaludjak. NTI will continue to be available to Inuit during this next phase. We believe our Beneficiaries will have questions, and we want to help.

Remembering things that happened at residential school may bring back painful memories for some former students. Former students can contact their local health centres, or their local social workers to talk to trained professionals about their feelings. Kaludjak also said NTI was considering ways to provide counseling services to Inuit during the common experience payment application form process.

We know how painful this time was for Inuit, and these memories are still with us. NTI wants Inuit to find closure and heal from this terrible time in Canadian history, said Kaludjak.

On behalf of NTI, Margaret Kusugak will continue to monitor and maintain the Residential Schools Settlement Agreement Information Hotline, 1-866-761-8122. Kusugak is located in NTI’s Rankin Inlet office.

The common experience payment provides former residential school students with $10,000 in financial compensation for their first year of residential school, and an additional $3,000 for each year after that. Students who resided at a residential school or hostel are eligible for this compensation for loss of language, culture and family environment.

Former students who were subjected to sexual abuse and serious physical abuse can participate in the agreement’s independent assessment process. NTI recommends that Inuit consult a lawyer if they wish to participate in this portion of the agreement. Significant funding for healing, truth and reconciliation, commemoration and education initiatives are also available as part of the settlement agreement.

In order to complete the common experience payment application form, former Inuit students will need their birth certificates or other pieces of identification.

Kerry McCluskey
Director of Communications
Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated