The Archbishop of Edmonton says Pope Francis’ apology for the role played by the Roman Catholic Church in the residential school system is just the first step towards healing.
Archbishop Richard Smith, who was part of a delegation to the Vatican that included several tribal leaders, said the apology was a milestone and historic and part of a springboard for reconciliation.
Indigenous groups involved in the delegation also requested the church to pay compensation, return the specimens, and share any documents concerning the residential school.
Smith said although Pontiff had indicated he would like to visit Canada, nothing would be official until the Vatican’s announcement.
He believes, however, that he will visit and that Pope Francis wants to repeat his apology on Canadian soil.
Smith said the pope had also made it clear to bishops that concrete steps, especially at the local level, needed to be followed in order to seek an apology.
“Indigenous peoples are independent and they are autonomous all over the country. We have to be very careful to avoid the perpetuation of the colonial mentality, by which we tell them: ‘Here is your problem – we know how to solve it and what we will do for you here’, Smith said.
“That day is over.”
This report was first published in the Canadian Press on April 4, 2022.
If you are a student at a former residential school, or are affected by the residential school system and need help, you can contact the 24-hour Indian Residential School Crisis Line or Indian Residential School at 1-866-925-4419. Survivor Society toll free line 1-800-721-0066.
Additional mental-health support and resources for indigenous peoples are available here.
See the latest world news at the following link:
World News || Latest News || US News