By Rick Hiebert. All Rights Reserved. Used By Permission
Despite having had problems with their former legal counsel, members of the Blood tribe in Southern Alberta have been reassured that they will be able to pursue a settlement for tribe members who went to residential schools before a deadline in September.
Canadian Press reports that Ian Pitfield, a former B.C. Supreme Court judge, made a special visit to the tribe last week.
He needed to make a visit to the tribe after a ruling by the B.C. Supreme Court in June. Justice Brenda Brown rule that the Calgary law firm of Blott and Co. could not longer represent 5,600 survivors of residential schools–including members of the Blood Tribe–due to the way that it had dealt with their clients.
As a result of the ruling, Ian Pitfield was appointed by the court to help ensure that the pending claims, which must be filed by Sept. 19th, will be dealt with fairly. He met with members of the tribe last week. Over one thousand members of the tribe have filed claims under the Residential School Settlemnent Agreement, a $5 billion class action suit.
Rick Tailfeathers, a spokesman for the tribe, told CP that Pitfield was “very responsive” to the concerns of the claimants. “The integrity of the system has to be restored,” he said.