The New Democrats are pressing the province to recognize the Timber Bay and Ile a la Crosse residential schools, so that former students can receive compensation.

Saskatoon MLA Betty Nippi-Albright recently presented a petition, urging for recognition, as approximately 2000 children attended both schools.

“The province of Saskatchewan oversaw approximately 2,000 children attending a school in Timber Bay, which operated between 1952 and 1994. The Ile-a-la-Crosse school operated between 1917 and 1995,” said Nippi-Albright.

She alleged that the province was invited to sign a memorandum of understanding with the Metis Nation-Saskatchewan and the federal government to explore discussions over the legacy of the Ile a la Crosse school, but that the province denied participation.

“[We] respectfully request that the Legislative Assembly of Saskatchewan call the Government of Saskatchewan to recognize the Ile-a-laCrosse and Timber Bay schools as provincial-run residential schools, release the records of these schools, offer the students a formal apology, and compensate the survivors,” read the petition.

In February, northern Chiefs of the Lac La Ronge Indian Band, Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation and Montreal Lake Cree Nation met with Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller to discuss the two residential schools.

Canada maintained and has continued to maintain responsibility for the children who were sent off-reserve to Timber Bay Children’s Home for the purposes of education. To be denied this recognition is another abuse that these children continue to endure at the hands of the Canadian governments,” said Chief Karen Bird of Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation.

In 2017, the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal ruled that Timber Bay was not a residential school, as it was not government-run. Yet the facility housed children who attended other residential schools. The RCMP is investigating a historical allegation from the Timber Bay school, dating to 1974, stating this is the only claim Mounties are investigating at a residential school.

A spokesperson for the provincial ministry of Government Relations said it would not be commenting on the petition as litigation is before the courts.

(Photo of Timber Bay residential school)