Survivors of boarding home abuse demand federal apology and compensation

Boarding home survivors awaiting compensation now press for federal apology

In 1969, Reginald Percival was one of hundreds of First Nations children who were forcibly removed from their families in northern B.C. and placed in the federal Boarding Home Program. The trauma of that day still haunts him, hearing the cries of his mother and other parents left behind. Despite not being sent to a residential school, Percival spent years with unfamiliar families, far from his own, under a system that promised care but delivered only abuse.

The Sorrowful Boarding Home Experience:
The federal government paid mostly non-Indigenous families to house approximately 40,000 First Nations and Inuit children between the 1950s and early 1990s. Instead of receiving care, many children suffered physical, sexual, verbal, and psychological abuse. The recent $1.9-billion settlement aims to acknowledge and compensate the survivors of this dark chapter in Canadian history.

Reaching for Healing and Justice:
While the settlement provides some closure for boarding home survivors, it doesn’t include an official apology from the federal government. Percival and others urge Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to address the pain and trauma suffered by those who never made it home. Compensation ranges from $10,000 to $200,000, with an additional $50-million foundation dedicated to healing, commemoration, language, and culture for survivors and their descendants.

A Path to Recovery:
The claims process for boarding home survivors has been structured to ensure all eligible individuals can seek compensation without pressure or limitations. Unlike other settlements, survivors can submit multiple claims based on the severity of abuse suffered. This paper-based process allows survivors to share their stories without the need for hearings with lawyers, offering a more accessible and empathetic approach.

From Trauma to Triumph:
Despite the heartbreaking legacy of the Boarding Home Program, survivors like Percival are finding ways to reclaim their culture and heal from the past. Percival, now 68, is reconnecting with his roots through music and art, dedicating his song to all survivors. As he encourages others to stay strong, his journey exemplifies resilience and the power of perseverance in the face of adversity.



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