by Doug George-Kanentiio | Columnist
On February 10 the US news station WWNY reported that Canada has agreed to pay $2,000,000,000 (billion) to settle a case involving the kidnapping and placing of Native children in residences off Indigenous Territory.
Also noted in the report was this amount, to be paid across Canada, also involves those who were placed in the notorious residential schools.
At Akwesasne this involves an untold number of children whose lives were forever altered by the removals with subsequent loss of familial relations, culture and language.
The Mohawk Council of Akwesasne, the successor to the St. Regis Band Council, was involved in the taking of the children. Its employees worked with the provincial social services agencies to identify and take the Mohawk children and then failed to offer any kind of compensation or healing. Neither has the MCA issued a formal apology for its part in these actions or provided any restitution for the harm caused to those most vulnerable.
The proposed amount to be directed towards the Akwesasne must not be swallowed up in bureaucracy or any existing department. It must be given to those who were stolen as the first step towards healing.
In previous MCA administrations funds were secured under the residential school cover-an untold amount was paid yet no one had the integrity to contact the survivors and ask them what they wanted and how the money should have been spent. This needs to be investigated and those sums paid back to the survivors-their suffering must not be exploited.
So too with the Mohawk children placed with non-Natives were they were abused, humiliated and emotionally crippled. No one came to their rescue-they were essentially abandoned by the St. Regis Band Council.
For this they must have fair and just compensation beginning with the millions to be directed towards Akwesasne. No inflating the Council’s operating funds and no new employees hired to “heal” the victims.
There already exists counseling services and the Haudenosaunee Everlasting Academy of Learnings which are effective. It is up to the survivors of the foster care kidnappings to determine how to work with those entities.
Should the MCA reject direct payments to the survivors as partial justice they should be held accountable.
No more victims. The settlement funds belong to the survivors.