The Mohawk Council of Akwesasne would like to update the community on the Federal Indian Day School Class Action Settlement process.

On Wednesday, December 11, the Federal Court of Appeal dismissed one of Chief Paul Emile Ottawa’s two appeals that were submitted by his lawyer David Schulze (partner, Dionne Schulze, S.E.N.C). This comes after the Assembly of First Nations called upon Chief Ottawa to remove his appeals to allow the process to go through.

Gowling WLG has updated class members that while this is a step forward for the settlement, this does not clear the way for students to submit claims. Chief Ottawa has 60 days to ask the Supreme Court of Canada to review the Federal Court of Appeal’s decision. Unless Chief Ottawa waives his right to approach the Supreme Court for his appeal, the settlement process will be stalled for at least the next two months. There is also the matter of the second appeal that Chief Ottawa had submitted that has yet to be heard by the Federal Court of Appeal.

Until these two appeals are put to rest, class members will not be able to submit claims for compensation. Gowling WLG has stated that they understand that class members are frustrated and are working hard to move things forward. For more information regarding this latest update, class members can contact Gowling WLG at their toll-free number 1-844-539-3815 or at their email dayschools@gowlingwlg.com. Registration forms to be added to Gowling’s mailing list are still available online at indiandayschools.com or at the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne Aboriginal Rights & Research Office (ARRO) at 33 Third Street in Kana:takon.

Mental health counselling and crisis support is available to Class Members 24 hours a day, 7 days a week through Hope for Wellness Hotline. Contact Hope for Wellness at 1-855-242-3310 or through their online chat at www.hopeforwellness.ca. Counselling is available in English, French, Cree, Ojibway and Inuktitut, on request.