The Associated Press, October 7, 1998

Compensation to victims of sexual and physical abuse in Indian residential schools

OTTAWA (AP) The federal government is negotiating with aboriginals on a forum for victims of abuse at residential schools so they can publicly tell their stories of suffering, The Canadian Press has learned.

The plan falls short of a recommendation in the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples for a full-scale inquiry into widespread sexual and physical abuse at the government-sponsored schools before the last ones closed down in the 1980s.

Ottawa and even some aboriginal leaders and residential school students are wary of spending millions on an inquiry after the $58 million royal commission wracked up the biggest tab in Canadian history.

Indian Affairs Minister Jane Stewart responded to the commission's 1996 report by apologizing to residential school victims and putting up $350 million for a ``healing fund'' for counseling within aboriginal communities.

But the government is under growing pressure to come up with additional compensation for individual victims, some 1,400 of whom have filed lawsuits against Ottawa alleging sexual and physical abuse

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