Île-à-la-Crosse Survivors Come Together to Demand Saskatchewan and Canada Negotiate a Fair Resolution during Inspiring and Powerful Weekend Conference

Press Release

Saskatoon, SK, March 28, 2023 – Following a critical and historic conference, the Île-à-la-Crosse Survivors Committee, with support from the Métis Nation–Saskatchewan (MN–S), commends and honours the Survivors for their enduring resiliency and strength. Coming together in a safe environment reaffirms Survivors’ calls for both the federal and provincial governments to work with them to negotiate a fair and just resolution for the horrific abuse they endured at these government run “schools”.

“This weekend was the first time that many Survivors were able to come together – some were reunited for the first time since they left the school decades ago,” explained Île-à-la-Crosse Survivors Committee member Duane Favel, “For many, it was the first opportunity to speak to other Survivors about their time at the school, reaffirming and validating their experiences. I believe that this weekend has given many Survivors a real opportunity to begin the healing journey that they have been looking for their whole lives.”

The emotional weekend saw many tears and laughter shared among the Elders, Survivors, and family members present. This gathering was the first of its kind for the Survivors of Île-à-la-Crosse.

“We have heard clearly from our Survivors that they want more opportunities to come together and heal as a community,” stated MN–S Vice President Michelle LeClair, “Community is at the centre of our Nation. We have heard the Survivors and are committed to ensuring they have more opportunities to gather and continue their journey toward healing and justice.”

Survivors and their families were also updated on the status of the new legal action brought forward on their behalf against both the governments of Canada and Saskatchewan. Throughout the weekend Survivors called for both governments to come to the table and negotiate in good faith and expressed their desire for swift resolution.

“Survivors were clear, they want a quick resolution to this court case, but that cannot happen if Canada and Saskatchewan aren’t at the table to negotiate with our Survivors in good faith,” stated LeClair. “Survivors expressed their disappointment and frustration with the lack of action on the part of Saskatchewan. We will continue to push the

provincial government to do what is right and that is to negotiate with the Survivors before it is too late. Every year we lose more Survivors, we cannot have any more delays or excuses.”

A group of Survivors representing the Île-à-la-Crosse Survivors Committee now head to Toronto to participate in the National Gathering on Unmarked Burials, where they will be speaking on several panels to further awareness of Île-à-la-Crosse and the Métis experience in the residential school system.

More information on the weekend’s events and the Île-à-la-Crosse Residential School can be found at United4Survivors.ca.

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About the Île-à-la-Crosse Boarding School Steering Committee

The Île-à-la-Crosse Boarding School Steering Committee Inc. is comprised of 12 board members representing twenty communities in Northwest Saskatchewan. The committee has been actively advocating for Survivors of the Île-à-la-Crosse Boarding School for over twenty years. Founding members of the committee include Antoinette Lafleur, Emile Janvier, Margaret Aubichon, and Duane Favel.

About Métis Nation–Saskatchewan

Métis Nation–Saskatchewan (MN–S) is the recognized government of the Métis Nation in Saskatchewan. MN–S is built on a foundation of Métis identity, culture, values, and language. MN–S works to advance Métis rights and recognition. MN–S represents the political, socioeconomic, cultural, and educational interests of more than 80,000 Métis in the province through an elected representative system at local, regional, and provincial levels.

For Media Inquiries:
Rena Montgomerie
MN-S Senior Communications Officer
r.montgomerie@mns.work
306-250-1092

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