10 Prairie First Nations are suing the Government of Canada
The case was filed January 31 in Federal Court.
Ten First Nations in the Prairies are suing the Canadian government for the loss of language, culture and traditions inflicted on members of their communities by Child and First Nations family.
This class action lawsuit was filed in Federal Court on January 31 by Chief of the Fisher River Cree Nation in Manitoba, David Crate. The latter is one of the main plaintiffs in this case.
A judge will have to certify this lawsuit.
With Supporting nine other Indigenous leaders, David Crate seeks compensation for the harm inflicted on their communities by the mass roundup of Indigenous children over the past three decades.
This legal action could include any First Nations who choose to participate. It would cover the period from the beginning of the creation of First Nations Child and Family Services (FNCFS) in 1991, until today.
In a 52-page document, First Nations allege that Canada introduced the FNCFS program in the context of cultural genocide and intergenerational trauma that began with residential schools and continued with the Sixties Scoop.
Lawyer Harold (Sonny) Cochrane is representing the ten First Nations in this case. A member of the Fisher River Cree Nation, he claims to have seen firsthand the damage done, not only to individuals, but also to my community.
“Intergenerational trauma, substance abuse rates, poverty, all of these unfortunate outcomes stem from federal government child services practices and programs.
— Harold (Sonny) Cochrane, Lawyer
Another lawyer who represents the interests of the ten First Nations in this case, Shawn Scarcello, hopes to negotiate with Ottawa, but he is also preparing to fight. We expect Canada to be accountable, he says.
The Department of Indigenous Services in Ottawa declined to comment on the lawsuit .
Indigenous Services Communications Director Andrew MacKendrick, however, provided some clarification on the federal government's commitment to reconciliation.
We are working on a $20 billion tentative agreement related to long-term reform of First Nations child and family services, he said by email. This is part of our commitment to ensuring that the wrongs of the past are not repeated again.
With information from Brett Forester