Pope Francis attends a community event near Nakasuk Elementary School in Iqaluit on Friday afternoon. In his speech, the Pope asked forgiveness and referred to the ‘indignation and shame’ he felt about Canada’s residential schools. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)
A panel of First Nations chiefs and residential school survivors spoke to media Thursday. Elder Gordon Burnstick from Alexander First Nation, Rod Alexis from Alexis Nakota Sioux Nation, Chief Tony Alexis from Alexis Nakota Sioux Nation, Treaty 6 First Nations Grand Chief George Arcand Jr., Ermineskin Cree Nation Chief Randy Ermineskin, Louis Bull Tribe Chief Desmond Bull and Alexander First Nation elder Victoria Arcand spoke at the event. (Jamie McCannel/CBC)
Pope Francis will make stops in Alberta, Quebec and Nunavut from July 24 to 29 to apologize in person for the wrongs done to Indigenous people by Roman Catholic priests and nuns who ran abusive residential schools in Canada.
“So the evidence is there. You can see the way we are, our behaviours and how we walk through life, the struggles that we had, and the difficulties that we had — difficulties sometimes in learning, difficulties in relating to one another, difficulties in marriage, difficulties with alcohol.”
– Mabel Brown, residential school survivor
“We can forgive, but we’ll never forget what happened, and the pain, we’ll always carry the pain until the day we die.”
– Linda Daniels , residential schoolsurvivor
The Pope will be in Canada from July 24 to 29 with stops in Edmonton, Quebec City and Iqaluit, and is expected to apologize in person for the Catholic Church’s role in the residential school system.
The Assembly of First Nations Quebec-Labrador says it’s disappointed to learn only 400 seats have been allocated to survivors of residential schools in Quebec as Pope Francis visits the province for mass later this month. The mass will be held near Quebec City at the Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré basilica on July 28, when the Pope is expected to apologize in person for the Catholic Church’s role in the residential school system.
The papal visit is set to start in Edmonton on July 24, move on to the Quebec City area on July 27 and end in Iqaluit on July 29. It is to include public and private events with an emphasis on Indigenous participation.
The Pope will visit the newly-restored Sacred Heart Church of the First Peoples in Edmonton’s inner city on July 25 during his historic visit to Canada. Sometime during his Canadian trip, Francis is expected to deliver an apology for the harms suffered by Indigenous people at the hands of the Roman Catholic Church.
While residential schools may have ended in Canada, their legacy and generational trauma has not.