Pope Francis visit to Canada was part of the process of helping Indigenous People heal from the atrocities committed by Residual School. The real question will his visit and apology change anything for the First Nations People? The attitudes and laws that lead to taking land and controlling people’s culture until their culture dies off have not disappeared. The laws that lead to the idea of ” We must remove the Indian from the Indians” have not been removed from the law of Canada. With those laws on the books what is going to stop someone from acting on them thus persecuting another group of people in the future?
From the Prime Minister Office
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau met with His Holiness Pope Francis and the Secretary of State of the Holy See, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, at the Citadelle of Quebec.
Prime Minister Trudeau thanked Pope Francis for visiting Canada to engage with Indigenous Peoples on their ancestral lands, acknowledge the truths about the residential school system, and recognize its painful legacy for First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples in Canada.
Following the personal apology Pope Francis delivered to Survivors, their families, and communities on Monday, in Maskwacîs, Alberta, the Prime Minister, Pope Francis, and Cardinal Parolin discussed the importance of the Roman Catholic Church’s continued meaningful engagement with First Nations, Inuit, and Métis in advancing healing and reconciliation. They also discussed the need for the Church to take concrete action to repatriate Indigenous artefacts, provide access to residential schools documents, address the Doctrine of Discovery, and ensure justice for Survivors, including for the Rivoire case. The Prime Minister underlined the Government of Canada’s ongoing commitment to chart a new and better path forward with Indigenous Peoples and everyone in Canada.
Prime Minister Trudeau and Pope Francis also discussed unprecedented global challenges, including peace and security in Ukraine and the global impacts of food insecurity, in particular for the world’s most vulnerable. The Prime Minister and the Secretary of State also exchanged views on issues of mass migration and climate change, and looked forward to further strengthening relations between Canada and the Holy See.
The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today issued the following statement welcoming the announcement of His Holiness Pope Francis’ visit to Canada. His Holiness will be in Canada from July 24 to 29, 2022:
“I welcome the news of His Holiness Pope Francis’ visit to Canada this summer to formally deliver the Roman Catholic Church’s apology for its role in operating residential schools that caused lasting pain and suffering to Indigenous Peoples in this country.
“While His Holiness delivered an apology in Rome last month, a formal in-person apology in Canada from the Roman Catholic Church to Survivors and their families would respond to Call to Action #58 of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). This would be an important – and necessary – step for the Roman Catholic Church to continue engaging in dialogue with First Nations, Inuit, and Métis in order to advance meaningful reconciliation for Indigenous Peoples in our country. For far too long, this has been a burden carried by Indigenous Peoples alone. I encourage all Canadians to watch this historic moment and reflect on the impacts of colonialism.
“The Government of Canada is committed to implementing the TRC’s Calls to Action and supporting Survivors and their communities in the journey of healing. We will continue to support First Nations, Inuit, and Métis by investing in their efforts to identify and recover those who never came home. Recognizing that this work can trigger painful memories, the government will also continue to invest in culturally appropriate mental health and wellness supports so that individuals, families, and communities can grieve and heal.
“If you need to talk to someone, mental health supports will continue to be available to residential school Survivors, their families, and communities throughout the Pope’s visit to Canada, including through national helplines and other mental wellness services.”
The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today issued the following statement on the personal apology delivered by His Holiness Pope Francis to Survivors of the residential school system in Canada:
“Today, His Holiness Pope Francis was in Maskwacîs, situated on Treaty 6 territory, traditional lands of First Nations and Métis people, where he recognized the abuses experienced at residential schools that resulted in cultural destruction, loss of life, and ongoing trauma lived by Indigenous Peoples in every region of this country. His Holiness begged ‘forgiveness for the evil committed by so many Christians against Indigenous Peoples.’
“The residential school system attempted to assimilate Indigenous children, forcing them to abandon their languages, cultures, spiritualities, traditions, and identities. Over 150,000 children were taken from their families and communities to attend residential schools. Many suffered physical, emotional, and sexual abuse, and thousands of children never returned home. The painful legacy of the residential school system lives on today.
“In 2015, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) released its final report – delivering 94 Calls to Action to address and repair the harms endured at residential schools. Call to Action #58 specifically calls upon the Pope to issue an apology to Survivors, their families, and communities for the Roman Catholic Church’s role in the spiritual, cultural, emotional, physical, and sexual abuse of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis children in Catholic-run residential schools. Since its release, First Nations, Inuit, and Métis have asked the Pope to fulfill this call. Earlier this year, in an immense display of bravery and determination, Survivors, Indigenous leaders, and youth travelled to the Vatican to tell their truths directly to one of the institutions responsible and urged the Catholic Church for a full apology. Today’s gathering at Maskwacîs would not have been possible without the courage, advocacy, and perseverance of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Survivors who recounted their painful memories and shared their experiences.
“Today is about the children who were taken from their families and robbed of their childhoods. The intergenerational impacts of residential schools continue to reverberate within Indigenous communities today, as Survivors, their families, and their communities continue to deal with the resulting trauma. The Government of Canada will continue to support their healing journey and remains committed to fully implementing the TRC’s Calls to Action.
“Reconciliation is the responsibility of all Canadians. It is our responsibility to be open, to listen, and to share. It is our responsibility to see our differences not as an obstacle, but as an opportunity to learn, to better understand one another, and to take action. No one must ever forget what happened at residential schools across Canada and we must all ensure it never happens again. In the spirit of reconciliation and healing, together we will build a better future – for Indigenous Peoples and all Canadians.”
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