The Residential Schools Settlement Agreement (IRSSA) is a historic agreement made in 2006 between the Canadian government and Indigenous peoples. Under the terms of the agreement, the government agreed to provide compensation and support to Indigenous peoples who had been forced to attend residential schools.
Residential schools were government-funded institutions that aimed to assimilate Indigenous children into Canadian society by separating them from their families and communities and forcing them to abandon their cultural practices. The schools were operated by various Christian denominations and were in operation from the late 19th century until the 1990s.
The schools were a source of trauma for Indigenous peoples, and the effects of the residential school system are still felt today. The IRSSA was created to address the harms caused by the residential school system.
The agreement included four main components: the Common Experience Payment, the Independent Assessment Process, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and the Aboriginal Healing Foundation.
The Common Experience Payment provided a one-time payment of $10,000 to every surviving Indigenous person who had attended a residential school. The Independent Assessment Process was set up to compensate survivors for specific harms they suffered while attending residential schools, such as physical and sexual abuse.
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission was established to document the experiences of survivors and to develop recommendations for reconciliation between Indigenous peoples and non-Indigenous Canadians. The Aboriginal Healing Foundation was set up to support healing programs for Indigenous peoples affected by the residential school system.
While the IRSSA was an important and necessary step towards addressing the harms caused by residential schools, it is important to recognize that it is not a complete solution. The effects of the residential school system continue to impact Indigenous communities today, and ongoing efforts are needed to support Indigenous peoples in healing and rebuilding their communities.
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