Pope to visit Indigenous communities seeking apology for Church’s role in residential schools

Reuters  •  Mar 23, 2022

Schools run by a number of Christian denominations on behalf of the government between 1831 and 1996 aimed to assimilate Indigenous children

Kamloops residents and First Nations people gather to listen to drummers and singers at a memorial in front of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School after the remains of 215 children were found. May 31, 2021. REUTERS/Dennis Owen.

(Reuters) – Pope Francis will meet representatives of Canada’s native peoples this month to listen to their concerns following the discovery of bodies of children buried in church-run schools in Canada, the Vatican said on Wednesday.

A statement said the Pope will meet representatives of Inuit, Métis and First Nations communities on March 28 and 31, before holding an audience for all groups as well as Canadian bishops on April 1.

The schools, whose stated aim was to assimilate Indigenous children, operated between 1831 and 1996 and were run by a number of Christian denominations on behalf of the government. The Catholic Church ran most of them.

Later this year the Pope is expected to visit Canada, where Indigenous people have asked that he personally apologize for the Church’s role in the schools. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also said the Catholic Church must take responsibility.

Pope Francis gestures during the weekly general audience at the Paul VI Hall at the Vatican, March 23, 2022. PHOTO BY YARA NARDI/REUTERS

The recurring scandal broke out again last year, when hundreds of bodies where discovered at former schools, leading to fresh demands for accountability.

Last June, Pope Francis said he was pained by the discovery of the remains of over 200 children at a former Catholic school for Indigenous students, but stopped short of the direct apology some Canadians had demanded.

The residential school system forcibly separated about 150,000 children from their homes. Many were subjected to abuse, rape and malnutrition in what the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in 2015 called “cultural genocide”.

(Reporting by Philip Pullella; writing by Angelo Amante; editing by Jason Neely and Barbara Lewis)

This story was originally published at nationalpost.com. Read it here.

2 thoughts on “Pope to visit Indigenous communities seeking apology for Church’s role in residential schools

  1. He should be asked to repeal or abolish the ” doctrine of discovery ” and all papal bulls thereof…these are rascist documents that are still in effect today. Land back .

    Like

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