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Thursday, March 23, 2023

Pope apologizes for ‘evil’ committed in Canada’s indigenous schools

Pope Francis on Monday apologized for the Catholic Church’s role in Canada’s earlier policy of separating Native Canadian children from their families and forcing them to attend Christian schools, where many were abused .

“I humbly apologize for the evil done by so many Christians against the indigenous people,” Pope Francis said at a former Indigenous residential school in the western Canadian city of Muskavasis, Alberta.

More than 150,000 Indigenous children in Canada were forced to attend government-funded Christian residential schools from the late 1880s to the 1970s to distance them from their native languages ​​and cultures.

Many children were physically and sexually abused by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada in a system called “cultural genocide”.

Thousands of indigenous people, many dressed in traditional dress, gathered on Monday to listen to the Pope’s speech near the site of the former Erminskine Indian Residential School. Others wore orange shirts, symbolizing residential school survivors.

The Pope said residential schools were a “catastrophic error” that was “incompatible” with the Gospel and said the schools had a “disastrous” effect on generations of indigenous peoples.

“I apologize, in particular, of the manner in which many members of the Church and religious communities cooperated, not least through their indifference, in the projects of cultural destruction and forced assimilation promoted by the governments of the time,” They said.

This photo, taken on July 23, 2022, shows the marking of graves at Erminskin Cemetery near the site of Erminskin Residential School in Maskawassis, Alberta on July 23, 2022.

He apologized for the Catholic Church’s support of a “colonialist mentality” and called for a “serious investigation” into the trauma inflicted on Indigenous children in Catholic educational institutions.

The Pope has already apologized for the role of the Catholic Church in Canada’s residential schools, during a visit by Indigenous representatives to the Vatican earlier this year. However, this is the first time the Pope has apologized on Canadian soil.

Abuse in residential schools in Canada has gained international attention over the past year after hundreds of possible burial sites were discovered in former schools. Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission called on the Pope to apologize for the mistreatment on Canadian soil.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has apologized for Canada’s role in the residential school system, saying it was “incredibly harmful government policy”.

Upon his arrival in Canada on Sunday, the Pope was met with Trudeau by representatives of Canada’s three main indigenous groups – First Nations, Métis and Inuit.

On his flight from Rome to Edmonton on Sunday, Francis told reporters, “It’s a journey of penance. Let’s just say it’s the soul of it.”

Pope’s visit to Canada will also take him to Quebec City and Iqaluit, the capital of the Nunavut region.

The 85-year-old Pope canceled his trip to Africa earlier this month due to a knee problem.

Some information in this report has been received from The Associated Press and Reuters.

This article is republished from – Voa News – Read the – original article.`

World Nation News Desk
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