Pope Francis Receives Two Groups of Indigenous Canadians in 'Historic' Gathering

Pope Francis heard on Monday the testimony of two indigenous delegations from Canada, a meeting presented as "historic" to discuss the drama of the residential schools run by the Church in this country.

This much-awaited visit by these delegations should make it possible to “recognize the responsibility” of the Church and, ultimately, an apology from the sovereign pontiff for the violence perpetrated for decades in these boarding schools for natives, administered by the Catholic and Anglican churches.

On Monday, the leader of the Catholics received in private audience members of the Métis National Council and the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami. He is due to receive representatives of the First Nations on Thursday before a final meeting with all the delegations on Friday.

“The pope listened to us. He heard three of the many stories we have to share" and "nodded as our survivors told their stories," Cassidy Caron, president of the Métis National Council, told reporters after the meeting. meet.

“I felt a certain sorrow in his reactions (…) The only words he spoke in English were: 'truth, justice, reparation'. I take this as a personal commitment,” she added during a press briefing in St. Peter's Square, Rome.

“We hope that the pope's response on Friday at the general audience will show that he recognizes what we have shared today” and that “it will lead to an apology when he comes to Canada”, a trip planned but for which no date has yet to be announced.

The discovery of hundreds of unmarked children's graves in recent months has rocked Canada and many survivors are now waiting for an apology from the pope. In September, the Catholic Church of Canada issued a formal apology to Indigenous peoples.

Between the end of the 1980th century and the 150.000s, some 130 indigenous children were forcibly recruited into more than XNUMX boarding schools across the country, where they were cut off from their family, language and culture.

Thousands never returned – authorities estimate their number at between 4.000 and 6.000. In 2015, a national commission of inquiry called this system “cultural genocide”.

The editorial staff (with AFP)

Image credit: Shutterstock / meunierd / Memorial around the Centennial Flame on Parliament Hill to honor the lives of Indigenous children whose bodies were found in a mass grave in Kamloops, Canada.

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