Nishnawbe Aski Nation

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May 3, 2018

Peetabeck Keway Keykaywin (St. Anne’s Residential School Survivors) Association

May 2, 2018: St. Anne’s Residential School operated from 1903 until 1976 in Fort Albany on the western shores of James Bay. Indigenous children from coastal communities were forced to reside in these schools under federal policy. Many children were severely sexually or physically abused. Some children died there.

“Minister Carolyn Bennett, on behalf of the Government of Canada, has agreed to enter into negotiations towards a meaningful resolution to the ongoing legal battle between survivors of St. Anne’s Residential School and the federal government,” says Edmund Metatawabin.

This agreement to negotiate comes at the same time as the House of Commons is preparing to vote on an NDP motion introduced by MPs Charlie Angus and Romeo Saganash calling for a papal apology for the Catholic Church’s role in the residential school system.

Mr. Andrew Wesley, Chair of Peetabeck Keway Keykaywin (St. Anne’s Residential School Survivors) Association (PKKA) commented that “he is very happy for St. Anne’s survivors.  It has been a painful road to reach this stage.  We are hopeful.” 

St. Anne’s survivors witnessed debate over a motion in the House of Commons on Thursday, April 26, 2018 and spoke at a press conference before its introduction. Survivors Angela Shisheesh and Evelyn Korkmaz articulated the importance of reconciliation and the need for the government and church to recognize the truth about the horrors of St. Anne’s. Shisheesh expressed gratitude to Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler and Deputy Grand Chief Anna Betty Achneepineskum for their strong support.

Minister Bennett, in a spontaneous afternoon meeting with survivors, Mr. Angus, and Deputy Grand Chief Anna Betty Achneepineskum, agreed in principle to begin negotiations to resolve the ongoing legal issues, to fund long-term language teaching and cultural revival in NAN territory, and to begin diplomatic efforts with the Holy See to rescind the papal bull that articulated the so-called “doctrine of discovery.”

Representatives of the St. Anne’s Survivors Association, Nishnawbe Aski Nation and Mushkegowuk Council are exploring options on ways to move forward including a facilitated discussion.

For more information, contact:

Edmund Metatawabin, PKKA Coordinator     (705) 278-1108 


Press release