How convenient, Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada. How convenient that you have these pre-printed forms called CEP – Request for Reconsideration, that I’m sure you have made hundreds…thousands of people go through, if they have the will.
CEP – Common Experience Payment. It was a settlement that was to be paid to Residential School Survivors for fucked up Canadian governmental policies to educate and assimilate the savages that spanned nearly, if not over, 100 years. My dearest Granny was in one of these schools for 12 years; released when she reached the age of majority. She was ordered into one of these schools, because it was the law that all Aboriginal children be schooled, and it was during the peak time, when all of the children would be taken from their homes and put into these Catholic schools.
Imagine how thorough the record-keeping must have been at these schools/churches in the 1920s/1930s. And how accessible those records must be today. I got a letter in the mail today saying that they couldn’t confirm her residency for the first 3 years she was at her school – thus, impacting the settlement payment they would give.
OH, but there’s this Request for Reconsideration, where I don’t have to necessarily provide more information - but they’ll check again? What is this?
What, did you not check hard enough the first time? Need a second set of eyes to scan through scraps of paper that are worn, burnt, blacked out – to find the one that proves my Granny was there in 1926? Good luck! Who suffers? We do (my Granny passed shortly after applying for her CEP) Most of this “proof” simply doesn’t exist. Buildings burned down. Schools opened and closed throughout Canada throughout the century – the history of the lack of care used towards the students should be an implication of the kind of care that would be used in documenting their attendance. Do you issue report cards for a girl’s domestic servant skills taught by nuns? Do you take a detailed report when students are admitted – when they can’t speak the same language as those admitting them?
I’m upset. We’re lucky, because we aren’t completely in the dark about my Granny’s time in that school because of research done before this CEP thing even existed. So, hopefully this Reconsideration person/committee is willing to do some sleuthing with the info I’m going to send. Hopefully, there is one extra piece of weathered paper in some random box that has my Granny’s name on it in 1926.
I’m glad that she doesn’t have to see this shit and I’m very saddened for those that do. I’m sure there are many being thrust through red tape to only see a smaller settlement, if any at all.