Rochon Genova brings motion for court recognition of Stirland Lake and Cristal Lake as "Indian Residential Schools" - May 12, 2009

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Rochon Genova LLP has brought a motion, on behalf of Windigo First Nations Council (Windigo) and Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN), before the Ontario Superior Court of Justice seeking to add Stirland Lake and Cristal Lake Residential Schools to the list of recognized schools under the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement (the "IRSS Agreement"). This is the first motion in Canada seeking to compel the addition of further schools to the IRSS Agreement over Canada's objection, and will set a precedent for other similar motions to add residential schools from across the country.

The IRSS Agreement provides a process by which former students of an "Indian Residential School", not currently recognized under that Agreement as qualifying for compensation, can challenge Canada's decision to exclude such schools.

In the spring of 2008, the federal government rejected Windigo and NAN's detailed submission to Canada to add Stirland Lake and Cristal Lake residential high schools as "Indian Residential Schools" claiming that these schools were private Mennonite schools and were not run with direct involvement by the government. Windigo and NAN are challenging Canada's decision. We will be asking the Court to add these two schools to the IRSS Agreement. If we are successful, then all former students of Stirland Lake and Cristal Lake will be able to submit applications for the Common Experience Payment and under the Independent Assessment Process for those who suffered abuse and/or mistreatment.

Rochon Genova is already representing several former students of the residential school system under the IRSS Agreement in advancing claims for both the Common Experience Payment and the Independent Assessment Process. Please refer to www.rochongenova.com under its Aboriginal Rights site for further information about our team and experience.

Please refer back to our website for future updates on this motion. In order that former students of Stirland Lake and Cristal Lake can participate and be informed about the court proceeding, we will be posting all court materials, decisions and orders on the website. If you are a former student and have any questions about this process, including requests for representation should our motion be successful, please contact Susan M. Vella at svella@rochongenova.com or on our toll free number at 1-800-462-3864.