Conversations beginning with Indigenous men and boys on cycle of abuse: Bennett

OTTAWA — Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett says the long-term effects of abuse suffered by people who attended Indian Day Schools is increasingly coming out in the open.

On Tuesday, as the government announced plans to compensate people who attended the day schools for the abuse they suffered, a regional chief for the Assembly of First Nations spoke candidly about the impact of abuse he endured.

Roger Augustine, who went to a day school in New Brunswick and is now regional chief for New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island, pledged to ensure additional supports are provided to men and boys in Indigenous communities.

Nearly 200,000 Indigenous children attended more than 700 federally operated Indian Day Schools beginning in the 1920s, where many endured trauma, including, in some cases, physical and sexual abuse.

Augustine says many, like him, did not realize as children they were being mistreated and he remains “very concerned” about Indigenous men and boys who are suffering without appropriate supports.

Bennett says she was moved by Augustine’s story and pointed to a $200-million investment the government is making in a settlement corporation for healing, education and wellness.

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