“It’s a very positive first step”
That’s from BC Assembly of First Nations Regional Chief Terry Teegee after Pope Francis apologized for the Catholic Church’s role in Canada’s residential school system earlier today (Friday).
As for what’s next, Teegee is encouraged to see more leadership being shown by Ottawa.
“The next step is to put more resources towards this healing journey. I think the Prime Minister coming to Williams Lake also offering more resources in the search for the children that didn’t make it home from these residential schools is a good sign.”
Teegee is now hoping Pope Francis can issue an apology on Canadian soil during his visit.
“Further to that is getting an apology here that many Indigenous and the residential school survivors and inter-generational survivors are seeking.”
“I think further to this, the Pope coming to Canada and at different residential school sites perhaps is the next step in terms of offering an apology for the Catholic church’s involvement.”
In his statement, the Pope said “I want to say to you with all my heart, I am very sorry.”
In the late 1800’s residential schools were set up by the Canadian government and most were run by the Catholic Church.
The intent was to remove Indigenous children from their families and replace their culture with Christian beliefs.
Attendance at the schools was mandatory.
Over the years thousands of children were abused and at least four thousand deaths have been recorded, but records are incomplete and missing.
In recent months, thousands of unmarked graves have been found at the sites of the former schools.
The last residential school closed in 1997.
– with files from Vista Radio newswire