MDSSC Board of Directors Appoints Members to Advisory Council

Aani, Atelihai, Boozhoo, Kwey, Tansi, Bonjour, and Hello, Survivors of Federal Indian Day Schools,

We hope you and your families are well.

In the months since our last message, the MDSSC’s Board of Directors has had a busy Spring and Summer. We completed our Legacy Fund Outreach Process to ensure the voices of Survivors and their families were heard, gaining valuable guidance and feedback on how the MDSSC Legacy Fund should be implemented.

The MDSSC Legacy Fund National Outreach Process, which consisted of online and email submissions, as well as four national virtual sessions, held space for the diverse experiences, backgrounds, cultures, and languages of our Survivor community. The virtual and online platforms were safe and inclusive environments for Survivors to give their direct input on how the Legacy Fund can best serve the unique needs of Survivors, our families, and our communities.

The Board of Directors has now appointed the MDSSC Advisory Council, which are representatives of Federal Indian Day Schools and their families, and has been authorized by the Board to develop the guidelines and procedures for the distribution of the MDSSC Legacy Fund.

We are now proud to announce the appointment of four individuals to MDSSC’s Advisory Council:

Louise Mayo

Louise Tekahawáhkwen Mayo is a member of the Mohawks of Kahnawake and is currently serving as the Indian Day School Coordinator for her community; she attended the Indian Day School for six years.

Kevin T. Hart

Kevin T. Hart is from the Nisichawayasihk Cree Nation and is the former ​​Manitoba Regional Chief for the Assembly of First Nations. For the past 25 years, he has been advocating for Indigenous issues at the national level and at the United Nations.

Bernd Christmas

Bernd Christmas is a member of the Membertou First Nation and was the first Mi’kmaw to become a lawyer in Canada. He is the owner of the Bernd Christmas Law Group, a firm specializing in Indigenous economic reconciliation.

Violet Ford is an Indigenous scholar, professor, lawyer, and residential school survivor who was born and raised in the Inuit community of Makkovik, Nunatsiavut region. She is the first female lawyer of Inuit ancestry in the country.

We are thrilled to welcome these four highly skilled and accomplished individuals who will help guide the MDSSC Board to develop protocols and grant application procedures for how the MDSSC Legacy Fund will be administered to support Federal Indian Day School Survivors, their families, and communities.

The Advisory Council will also be active in supporting the assessment of applications and decisions of funding from the Legacy Fund. As MDSSC’s Board of Directors, we will oversee the work of the Council and make final decisions based on their recommendations.

Collectively, MDSSC Board of Directors (Dr. Jim Igloliorte, former AFN Regional Chief Roger Augustine, and MDSSC CEO, Elder Claudette Commanda) enthusiastically express, “The Advisory Council is part of our work in ensuring the voices of Survivors and their families remain central to the work of MDSSC. We look forward to their guidance in creating positive pathways for healing for all Federal Indian Day School Survivors and their families.”