Letter to the editor responding to Bernice Logan's December 206 Journal letter about the experience of Lawrence Flett. Mr. Woodcroft describes the role of the ADR [Alternative dispute resolution] team.
The Anglican Church of Canada has been asked to have a representative at three ADRs [Alternative dispute resolution hearings] . Archdeacon Michael Averyt has attended two.
The Rev. Iain Luke is researching the thorny question of whether the national church can accept a partial legal release from native claimants which would let them sue the church later for loss of language and culture.
"The Anglican Council of Indigenous Peoples' (ACIP) rejection of the native residential schools agreement and its rebuke of the primate, Archbishop Michael Peers, is stirring up both support and criticism in the Canadian Church". The major point of concern for ACIP is that "natives who enter into the alternative dispute resolution (ADR) process must sign a release form promising never to sue the government claiming loss of language and culture in the national boarding school system." A letter from the diocesan council of Keewatin conveyed the diocese's deep distress at the press release and stand taken by the Anglican Council of Indigenous Peoples. Bishop Don Harvey of the diocese of Eastern Newfoundland and Labrador also expressed dismay at the ACIP position.
In March 2003 the Anglican Church of Canada signed an historic Settlement Agreement with the government of Canada to resolve financial responsibility for abuse in the Indian residential schools. "As part of the Agreement, the Anglican church undertook to establish a Settlement Fund and raise $25 million to be made available for compensation to those who had been abused in the schools between 1920 and 1969. When each claim is settled, the government pays 70 per cent and the church, from this fund, pays 30 per cent. Once the total $25 million has been expended, the church's obligation comes to an end, and the government will pay 100 per cent of any later claims." Just 18 months into this effort, more than half the funds have been raised ($13.9 million). Six dioceses have contributed their total amount, and others are engaged in various fundraising projects to meet their commitments". "So far, more than $3.5 million has been paid out to victims of abuse, almost all resulting from pre-trial settlements. The government has established an alternative dispute resolution process (ADR) to expedite the claims and to provide a less adversarial setting for the hearing of claims than is available through court processes. To date, more than 800 applications have been received, 175 of those involving Anglicans." "[F]rom the beginning of the flood of litigation, we have been clear that our first goal is healing. .... The Anglican church's Indigenous Healing Fund ... which was established in 1991 has made just under $1.7 million in grants to local community and church organizations that have developed healing programs. In 2004, $300,000 was available from the General Synod budget to provide resources for this work". In 2004 the Episcopal Church U.S.A. gave an unrestricted gift of $250,000 (US) to the Canadian Church. "The Council of General Synod decided to give 30 per cent of this gift to the Healing Fund, and to share the rest with the dioceses who have incurred legal costs over the years. The Settlement Fund will be fully in place by 2008, and no more fundraising for it will be required. Our financial obligation will be finished. All former students whose claims have been validated will receive compensation, and the church can carry on with its regular mission work, including the crucial work of healing and reconciliation with the nation's indigenous peoples".