Nunatsiaq News
NEWS: Around the Arctic January 23, 2018 - 10:30 am

Kivalliq Hall not an eligible residential school, Canada argues

Federal lawyers appeal decision to add GNWT residence to eligibility list for common experience payment

In 1984, the Government of the Northwest Territories built Kivalliq Hall in Rankin Inlet as a residence for regional high school students. It's now used for Nunavut Arctic College students. (FILE PHOTO)
In 1984, the Government of the Northwest Territories built Kivalliq Hall in Rankin Inlet as a residence for regional high school students. It's now used for Nunavut Arctic College students. (FILE PHOTO)
Simeon Mikkungwak, the MLA for Baker Lake, was sent to Kivalliq Hall to attend school in Rankin Inlet in the late 1980s. (FILE PHOTO)
Simeon Mikkungwak, the MLA for Baker Lake, was sent to Kivalliq Hall to attend school in Rankin Inlet in the late 1980s. (FILE PHOTO)

The federal government is appealing a decision by Nunavut Justice Bonnie Tulloch, who in December 2016 ruled that Rankin Inlet’s Kivalliq Hall student boarding home is a residential school under the 2006 Indian Residential School Settlement Agreement.

Tulloch applied factors that fall outside the provisions of the residential school agreement or “IRSSA,” federal lawyers said in documents filed with the Nunavut Court of Appeal.

That decision “impermissibly increases Canada’s obligations under the IRSSA,” and will lower the bar for other schools to qualify, federal government lawyers said.

For that reason, Canada is demanding Tulloch’s decision be dismissed.

Tulloch’s decision opened the door for former students of Kivalliq Hall to file for compensation under the common experience payment, a $1.9-billion fund that gave lump-sum payments to any Indigenous persons who lived at a residential school.

The fund was created when the settlement agreement was implemented in 2007.

Kivalliq Hall was constructed in Rankin Inlet by the Government of the Northwest Territories in 1984, and used as a student boarding home for regional high school students until the mid-1990s.

Lawyers for Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. represented Kivalliq Hall students in court, after the federal government refused to pay compensation to the facility’s former residents.

The appeal court will likely decide one central question: was Canada “solely or jointly responsible” for Kivalliq Hall’s operations?

Federal lawyers argue that Kivalliq Hall was run only by the GNWT, not the federal government, and that Canada was not responsible for its operations.

That’s because the devolution of education from Ottawa to the N.W.T. occurred in 1970. After that, schools in the N.W.T. operated under the Northwest Territories Education Act.

The N.W.T.‘s Department of Education oversaw the administration and operation of student residences by 1970, and the Government of Canada had no part in running them, federal lawyers said in court filings.

Testimony given by a former Kivalliq Hall student, Baker Lake MLA Simeon Mikkungwak, provided “no evidence” that the Canadian government was behind a notification telling him to attend high school in Rankin Inlet instead of Yellowknife in 1985, federal lawyers said.

NTI lawyers admit in court documents that Tulloch’s decision appeared to go outside the literal interpretation of the IRSSA’s provisions.

But they also said it is “well within her discretion to find other factors supporting how Canada was jointly responsible for the operation of [Kivalliq Hall].”

That’s because devolution of authority over education from Canada to the Northwest Territories was not immediate, and “particularly in areas of education, was not complete” even by the time the GNWT applied to the federal government for funding to build Kivalliq Hall in 1984.

“All of these costs were to be borne by Canada, including the salaries of teachers and Kivalliq Hall staff,” NTI lawyers said.

Evidence for this was seen in the actions of Canada’s Treasury Board, which sent its approval letter for the Kivalliq Hall project to the deputy minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, and not to the GNWT.

Mikkungwak’s testimony is also in line with similar experiences faced by Indigenous youth in identified residential schools under the IRSSA, NTI argued.

“Kivalliq Hall’s culture and environment resembled other residential schools,” court documents claim, adding “Kivalliq Hall students complained of abuse, and the teachers were mostly non-Inuit people.”

Lawyers are scheduled to appear before the Nunavut Court of Appeal on Feb. 13.

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(25) Comments:

#1. Posted by Suukia on January 23, 2018

I had a Son going there in Kivalliq Hall. In Inuit culture he was taken care of by 3 “mother” figures and very normal in extended families of Inuit. He was not confused about this. When the white counselor has a few talks with him, he got so confused about mother’s day and which mother he gives the card to, I had to pull him out of the Residence and quit school. He started having mental issues from the sessions with the staff member.

#2. Posted by Peabody on January 23, 2018

But teachers are still mostly non-Inuit. Will we be seeing lawsuits in the future for having to go to MUI?

This is about the level of absurdity we are operating at here.

#3. Posted by Deviant Thought on January 23, 2018

This is how residential school was designated.  I went to a Federal Day School but I had to live in residence.  Thus it was residential school.  Some students were excluded because they had their parents in town and did not have to live in residence. 

These are pertinent precedences.

#4. Posted by student on January 23, 2018

#2 did you ever go to residential school or were you home when you attend high school?

I find the Federal government thinking interesting when they agreed that the residential schools in Iqaluit and Yellowknife were approved but not this one.

The federal government started too late on this, since than some of the people have died and will not see their compensation.

#5. Posted by Dumb logic on January 23, 2018

#3 and 4. I lived in residence when I was in University, do I get money too? Get real…

#6. Posted by processed_byproduct of land grab on January 23, 2018

It gets to me living with parents is taken into account here the federal government still treated the student as though no one was there to protect them if someone did go against them they would get bad treatment from the all powerful Government agents that what those people were Government agents they had the court, social services, hospitals, stores under their influence lets not be naive and think that people would be able to stand up to these Government agents they couldn’t the parents who were in the community saw their young change overnight the way the students thought walked thought was all under the control of the Agents who were authorized to ignore pacify to charge anyone that was a problem, to handle the problem maybe they just gave them a drink a smoke to get them addicted to gain control over them.

#7. Posted by Good work on January 24, 2018

Thank you for working hard for and serving the Inuit of Nunavut, particularly the Kivalliq people, in this case, NTI.  Keep it up!

#8. Posted by uvaga on January 24, 2018

I live in Rankin and when I was in high school, I stayed at Kivalliq Hall, I wanted to stay there, most of them working there where Inuk’s, lol one of my family is down in Winnipeg for collage SHE pick to go down to Winnipeg, Kivalliq student’s pick to go out for school they are not force to go to school, waa greedy people kaunguna like unaliq now a days lol, my grand kid in Winnipeg, she wants to be in Winnipeg for school. nobody was force to go to school to Rankin.

#9. Posted by Dumber logic on January 24, 2018

I think you are the one that needs to get real!!

That’s university you were not in grade 9 or 10.

So that means you never attended residential school but you sure have something to say about.

#10. Posted by Past student on January 24, 2018

#8 I was forced to go to Rankin, we did not have high school, some of my class mates lost a parent back home while they were attending this residential school, I’m glad you have the choice today about where you want to get your high school education, back than we did not have that choice.
Also living away from your family and attending this residential school was not easy at a young age. It was different when we went back home after 3-4 years being away most of the time.
It sure doesn’t feel good trying to explain this to you guys because you don’t think it was bad or we don’t deserve it because you don’t know.

#11. Posted by Mr. Pips on January 24, 2018

#9 Let’s just call this what it is, a cheap attempt at a cash grab based on an imagined connection to real, historical social injustices.

To suggest that attending Kivalliq hall for high school is categorically similar to the real tragedies of the residential school system is an insult to ones intelligence and to the real survivors of this tragedy.

Yes, let’s all get real.

#12. Posted by uvaga on January 24, 2018

where you forced by family? because back then, I wanted my cousin’s to come down to Rankin for high school they wanted to stay home, my parent’s in there late 70’s weren’t forced to go to school in Chester, my dad unikarq when he went to school in Chester, he didn’t like the Nun so he hit her and went out by the window, my mom said she wanted to go to school, but after a year she quit, her choice, I don’t know, maybe people are treated different???

#13. Posted by Dumb and Dumber on January 25, 2018

Interesting how some people that never attended residential school think they know how it was. You can try to down play it or come up with some excuses but at the end of the day it was still a residential school.

There were different types and incidents that happened all over Canada at different times, but to try to belittle this one from someone who’s never attended residential school that’s pretty low of you, might make you feel taller or bigger to say such things but really it’s not.

#14. Posted by Mr. Pips on January 25, 2018

#13 Your definition of what qualifies as a ‘residential school’ under the IRSSA obviously needs to be honed.

If living in ‘residence’ is your criteria then tell me what are we to do about the thousands of students living in residence for both high school and universities across Canada as we speak?

An ongoing tragedy? A massive injustice? Or, just kids living away from home to attend school?

What I see here is opportunism for a quick, and frankly a dirty buck.

#15. Posted by Indigenous person, considered a nothing by Mr. Pip on January 25, 2018

#14, your opinion on this issue has no meaning at all.
You say, there are thousands of students living in residence for both high school and universities across Canada as we speak.  Well, those students are forced by their wealthy, lazy parents.

Back in the days, Indigenous kids were forced by the Government, not by our great-grand parents, grandparents or our parents!! 

I can tell that you have never been forced to do anything as your sound like a spoiled brat!

#16. Posted by Ad Hominem Fallacy on January 25, 2018


When you resort to personally attacking those with whom you disagree you only debase yourself and demonstrate the weakness of your position.

Frankly, I’m a little disappointed.

Consider the following:

#17. Posted by Indigenous person, considered a nothing by Mr. Pip on January 26, 2018

Ad Hominem Fallacy:  Did I hit a sour spot?

Of course I have weakness when it comes to high and might royal pain the ani attitudes who think the Indigenous kids who were kidnapped by the Feds to attend schooling and forced to speak a language they had no knowledge at all!!!! 
Have you ever been forced to speak a language you have no idea how to speak?  Whipped and clubbed if you speak your mother tongue?

#18. Posted by Jim on January 26, 2018

#16 I don’t know, he does sound like a spoiled kid who thinks he knows betters when he never experienced it.

#19. Posted by uvaga on January 26, 2018

my atatasiak’s words are… “STOP living in the past, move on, you want to be greedy, work your ass off” otherwise you will live and die being depress, telling us grandkids, I am scared to be a lazy person, I dislike being depress, if a person dislike’s me, so be it, I have better things to do, work my ass off to spoil myself, my other partner says, pay bill’s, if you want something, get another job, my grandkids want something, I tell them get a job, I use to tell my kids to get a job because they are on their own, you have no time to live in the past.

#20. Posted by Igvi on January 26, 2018

“Without making mistakes, there won’t be lessons learned. Without getting hurt, there won’t be knowledge gained. The only way we grow is by learning from the past. Always be willing to learn and grow daily. It’s how we come to know who we are and what we are made of.”
― Kemi Sogunle

#21. Posted by Mr. Pips on January 26, 2018

#17 (aka #18) Is that your experience in Kivalliq Hall?

Please let us know.

#22. Posted by Inuk gurl on January 26, 2018

#9 - your comment about no one was forced is bull crap. I went to Rankin at the age of 15, with no other choice. Never left home and my parents and this was the first time. I was forced. I did not have a choice.

#23. Posted by John on January 30, 2018

I find it funny, the ones that are against former Kivalliq students being eligible for a common experience payment have never attended residential school, trying to compare University residents and so on.

There must be something else at play here for them to be so against these past students.

Keep up the good fight past Kivalliq Hall students, don’t let some of these negative ones discourage you.

#24. Posted by survivor on January 30, 2018

Kivalliq Hall:

it was open for Kivalliq students that were entering grades 10-12 as their community did not offer those grades.  The residence ran from 1985-1995 to students in the area with ages ranging from 14-21 years olds male and females.

* kitchen staff were all non Inuit
* office had 1 Inuk as a receptionist and the rest were   non Inuit
* supervisors were mainly Inuit with 2 or 3 non Inuit rotational supervisors.
* custodians were mostly Inuit

today, the residences is run by the Arctic College for College students.

I hope this clears up the mix up as some comments are referring the residences as a college dorm.  It started as a dorm for students for high school.

#25. Posted by iThink on January 30, 2018

#23 The problem here is that no good reason why the Kivalliq Hall experience should be eligible for a CEP under the IRSSA has been given.

Except that, well… Kivalliq Hall was a “residence” and therefore can be defined as a residential school (see comment #3). 

The analogies to high school and university residencies are not meant to draw a literal comparison, they are made to point out the absurdity of definition at hand.

Get it now?

So far these comments have expressed a lot of emotional pain, a little venting, and such. There’s certainly a place for that. Still, none of that makes these claims any more legitimate.

Whether those commenting have attended a residential school or not doesn’t seem relevant to the legitimacy of the claim either.

I’m curious, why do you think it does?

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