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NTI files claim against Attorney General of Canada

NR 05-33 RSS ENG Residential Schools.doc

(September 19, 2005 — Iqaluit, Nunavut) Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. President Paul Kaludjak today announced that NTI was taking legal action against the Government of Canada in an attempt to oblige the government to include Inuit in the process set up to resolve the residential school legacy.

NTI filed a Statement of Claim against the Attorney General of Canada on Aug. 31, 2005, naming two Nunavut Inuit and NTI as the plaintiffs in the legal action. More individuals will be included in the lawsuit as NTI completes its list of Inuit who attended residential schools.

When the Government of Canada forced Inuit to attend residential schools, Inuit suffered through the same abuses and the same horrible experiences as First Nations peoples. I was surprised the Government of Canada did not include Inuit in this process from the beginning. Inuit deserve equal treatment, said Kaludjak.

In May 2005, the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) signed a political accord with the Government of Canada to resolve the First Nations (Treaty Indians) residential school legacy. Former Supreme Court Justice Frank Iacobucci was appointed by the government as its representative to negotiate with former residential school students and their lawyers, AFN, and legal counsel for churches in order to recommend to Cabinet a settlement package that will address compensation for all former residential school students, as well as various healing initiatives.

Since July 2005, legal counsel for all parties have met regularly with Iacobucci. Additional meetings were held in Calgary last week. NTI legal counsel was present at those meetings.

NTI officials are doing everything we can to ensure Nunavut Inuit who attended residential schools are given the opportunity to participate in the same compensation process that may be offered by the Government of Canada. Fairness requires that Inuit who attended residential schools receive compensation similar to that which may be received by First Nations persons for loss of language, culture and family environment, said Kaludjak.

If they do not agree to include Inuit in their process, this will be yet another blemish on our relationship with the Government of Canada, said Kaludjak.

Similar lawsuits against the Government of Canada are also being undertaken by the Makivik Corporation in Nunavik, and the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation in Inuvik.

We hope that at the end of this process, Inuit families begin to reconcile, and we can begin to address the legacy of residential schools through programs that recognize the harm done to Inuit families, said Kaludjak.

For further information:

Kerry McCluskey
Director of Communications
Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated