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Indian Day Schools
McLean Legacy Fund
The Legacy Fund
Canada’s steps toward addressing the intergenerational impacts of colonization and racism against Indigenous peoples — in other words, reconciliation — are just beginning, but some landmark settlements have been reached.
In 2009, Indian Day Schools Survivors began legal action against the Federal Government, seeking compensation for abuse and other damage from forced attendance at Indian Day Schools. In 2019, they entered into a $1.47B settlement, with $200 Million earmarked for the MDSSC and its Legacy Fund for Survivors, their children, and grandchildren. MDSSC’s unique cross-Canada engagement sessions aim to obtain input for the Legacy Fund’s implementation and administration from approximately 120,000 people.
The voices of Day School Survivors must remain central through this process — this is the commitment of MDSSC’s Board, as it is also their hope that MDSSC and the Legacy Fund will create enduring outcomes of the McLean Federal Indian Day Schools Class Action settlement and will be a major source of support for Survivors and their families.
LEGACY FUND ENGAGEMENT PROCESS
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Meet Our Board Members
The McLean Day Schools Settlement Corporation Legacy Fund is administered by a Board who are Day School Survivors and experts. The Board currently has three members and is planning to expand to seven members.
The current members are:
Photo Credit: Indspire
Elder Claudette Commanda
Chief Roger Augustine
James “Jim” Igloliorte
“I know you may not know some of the damages that have happened, and for me, I forgive you for that, because for me without forgiveness things stay the same.”
— Garry McLean, Lead plaintiff in Indian Day School class action lawsuit
The Legacy Fund derives its name from Garry McLean. Elder McLean was a member of the Lake Manitoba First Nation and represented approximately 200,000 Survivors as the lead plaintiff in the MDSSC case. Although he passed away weeks before the establishment of MDSSC, the settlement which bears his name is infused with his spirit.
Elder McLean was a band councillor, social worker, and civil servant. He was a fierce advocate for Indian Day School Survivors, as well as their families. The work of Garry McLean embodies strength, service to community, and the importance of justice, and the Legacy Fund seeks to continue this critical work.
About Day Schools
Approximately 200,000 Indigenous children were forced to attend federally operated Indian Day Schools, in every province and territory, from the mid-1800s until 2000. An often-overlooked part of Indigenous and Canadian history, Indian Day Schools resulted in the severing of cultural connections, including Indigenous languages, cultural practices, and ways of being, for hundreds of thousands of Indigenous children and families.
Government-sanctioned abuses led to a painful legacy that is still felt today due to the abuse, neglect, and negligible education at these schools.
The McLean Day Schools Settlement Corporation (MDSSC) was established as part of the historic McLean Federal Indian Day Schools Class Action settlement, which endowed MDSSC with a $200 Million Legacy Fund for projects to support Survivors of federally-operated Indian Day Schools, and their families. MDSSC is currently managed by CEO Elder Claudette Commanda, who sits on MDSSC’s Board with AFN Regional Chief Roger Augustine and Dr. James Igloliorte. Read more about MDSSC’s Board here and about the Legacy Fund here.
Although they came from the same nationwide class action lawsuit settlement started by its lead plaintiff, Elder Garry McLean, MDSSC and the claims process (which is handled by Deloitte Canada) are separate. This means that MDSSC does not have information about any claim, including its content, status, or result, nor are we able to influence the claims process.
Our aim is to support Survivors and their families, and other initiatives associated with Day Schools, through the Legacy Fund, which will help develop projects to support language & culture, healing & wellness, commemoration, and truth telling.
No. Day Schools were schools where Indigenous children were sent during the day, but remained in their communities and lived with their families. These schools were neither included in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, nor were they part of the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement of 2006. However, like Residential Schools, many students in Day Schools experienced abuse and had their cultural connections severed, including Indigenous languages, cultural practices, and ways of being.
Long after the compensation (i.e. claims) process is completed, our hope is that MDSSC and the Legacy Fund will create enduring outcomes of the McLean Federal Indian Day Schools Class Action settlement and will be a major source of support for Survivors and their families. We want the Legacy Fund to be as responsive as possible, truly meeting the needs and expectations of Survivors and their families, so we appreciate any input from those individuals, as well as their families.
We are reachable by email.
We are happy to answer any questions or concerns you may have regarding our operations, the Legacy Fund, and the outreach work we are currently engaging in.
Since Fall 2019, we have been hard at work developing the fundamental steps to establish MDSSC and the administration of the Legacy Fund, from setting up the corporation, to ensuring we had the proper financial and insurance supports in place. Despite major disruptions that resulted from the COVID-19 pandemic, we took swift steps to name our initial Board members and CEO, and to decide on investment strategies to preserve the Fund. This year, we have worked diligently to put together a framework for our outreach plan, ensuring that it is supportive, safe, and inclusive and are proud to announce that we will begin our outreach campaign soon!