From CBC North at http://www.cbc.ca/north/story/nor-healing-fudning.html
Res school healing will take decades, and millions: Erasmus - June 2, 2006
It will take hundreds of millions of dollars more, on top of the $1.9 billion now set aside for native victims of residential schools, to properly complete the healing process, veteran native leader George Erasmus told an audience in Yellowknife Thursday.
Erasmus, now chair of the Aboriginal Healing Foundation, said his foundation won't have enough money to finish the healing process it started, even with the $125 million it expects from the proposed residential school settlement to help fund community programs.
"Our final report suggests that what is required to complete the healing in Canada is an endowment of $600 million, and 30 more years of healing on top of what we can do with the existing money," he said.
Erasmus made the comments at an Assembly of First Nations-sponsored conference on the $1.9-billion compensation package passed by Parliament last month.
The compensation package provides money for as many as 86,000 aboriginal people who attended church-run schools. The so-called common experience payments release the government and churches from all further liability relating to the Indian residential school experience, except in cases of sexual abuse and serious incidents of physical abuse.
The Foundation, which spends about $60 million across the country, funds about 35 programs in the Northwest Territories.
Erasmus said the foundation will not fund any new programs, but concentrate on existing ones, and encouraged communities to start or continue healing programs on their own, even without money from the foundation.
Fontaine addresses concerns
Meanwhile, the national chief of the Assembly of First Nations said he sees better days ahead for aboriginal people, after years of frustration while seeking healing and compensation for the wrongs suffered in residential schools.
Fontaine was explaining the details of the agreement at the one-day conference.
He says the establishment of a national reconciliation and healing commission will also open many Canadians' eyes to the incredible hardship many natives of a certain generation went through.
"People know absolutely nothing, most often, about this experience," he said. "They don't know that residential schools existed, or why they existed, and the policy that governed the management and operation of these schools. And it's such a tragic part of our history."
Fontaine encouraged former students to apply for compensation. He told the group that benefits received under the deal would not be clawed back by Revenue Canada or territorial governments, and that the system will respond to people who have lost their education records or went to schools not on the official list.
"This agreement is fair, it's just, it's generous, and it actually fixes all of the things that were problems under the old system," he said.
Fontaine says the first payments, advances worth $8,000 to former residential students who are over 65, are being processed now.
Younger claimants can send in their forms in March of next year.
However, the deal must still be cleared by courts in nine jurisdictions, where individual abuse cases are being heard, and could be scuttled entirely if as few as five per cent of former students opt out in writing.