The Final Abuse of Indian Residential School Children: Deleting Their Names, Erasing Their Voices and Destroying Their Records after They Have Died and without Their Consent

88 Pages Posted: 21 Jul 2016 Last revised: 6 May 2017

Date Written: May 4, 2017

Abstract

For more than a century, Canada and the major Christian churches put more than 150,000 indigenous children into residential schools. After more than 12,000 law suits for compensation, Canada and the churches reached a settlement agreement with the plaintiffs. Among other things, the Settlement Agreement created a new Independent Assessment Process (IAP) to deal with compensation claims for physical and sexual abuse. There were more than 38,000 claimants. Under the settlement agreement, the IAP was supposed to give the claimants a choice about what would happen with their claim documents. The IAP never gave them that choice. The matter has now been appealed to the Supreme Court of Canada, which will soon decide whether to hear the appeal. If the Supreme Court refuses to hear the appeal, or upholds the decisions of the lower courts, there will be a consent program, a decade too late. It is probable that many thousands of claimants will not respond to that consent program, in part because many of them will have already died. What will happen with their documents (and audio recordings of their participation in the IAP)? Will they be destroyed without their consent? This paper examines the underlying facts and law. The paper argues that if IAP records and the recordings of their voices are destroyed without the consent of the claimants, and after they have died, it will be the last and final abuse that Canada, the churches and the courts will inflict on the residential school children.

Keywords: Indigenous, Aboriginal, Archives, Law, Privacy, Residential Schools, Independent Assessment Process, Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement, Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada

Suggested Citation

McMahon, Thomas, The Final Abuse of Indian Residential School Children: Deleting Their Names, Erasing Their Voices and Destroying Their Records after They Have Died and without Their Consent (May 4, 2017). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2812298 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2812298

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