Survivors Begin Applying For Compensation

Wednesday, September 19, 2007 at 14:45



Residential school survivors are picking up their compensation applications across the country today.


While some are touting it as a day of celebration, one woman in Saskatoon says it is anything but that.


Celia Clenell has been waiting for this day since when she first applied for compensation 10 years ago.


She says it’s not a happy day.


In fact, remembering her time at residential school brings tears to her eyes.


Clenell says, to this day, she has never said her mother’s name or her father’s name, because she was not known by her name in the residential school she attended — only a number.


For three days this week, residential school survivors like Clenell can pick up and fill out their compensation forms at the White Buffalo Youth Lodge with the help of Service Canada representatives.


100 people had already picked up their forms by 10:00 this morning.


Clenell has already received $8000 in compensation, all of which she says she gave to her three children.


She says they have suffered the most, because she lost her parenting skills while at residential school.


Clenell adds: “There’s no amount of money that can ever make up for what I’ve lost with my children. There is no restitution.”


Clenell says whatever money she gets this time will also go to her children.


She says today doesn’t bring her closure, but she hopes the issue will go away with this compensation.


A similar session is taking place today in Prince Albert.


Prince Albert Grand Council spokesman Richie Bird is helping to organize the event in that city.


Bird has heard the criticism from some survivors that they’re being told how to spend their money.


But Bird says advice is being offered to help avoid a repeat of past experiences.


He says he has seen “the down side” to sudden infusions of cash in First Nations communities.


Bird says he has witnessed it on days when child tax benefit, welfare, old age security or pay cheques come in — and adds this amount of money “will be three or four times greater”.