Pope Francis visits Canada, near the former Ermineskin Indian Residential School, where children of indigenous peoples were forcibly taken away to convert to Christianity. He apologized in front of several Cree nation leaders. A strong symbolic word after more than a century of abuse against the first peoples.
“I humbly ask for forgiveness for the evil that so many Christians have committed against indigenous peoples.” These words, eagerly awaited by the communities involved, were spoken by Pope Francis on Monday, July 25 in Maskwacis, Canada’s Alberta Province. Visiting Catholic leader apologizes to First Nations whose children have been physically and sexually abused at Catholic boarding schools across the country, according to findings of a government-funded commission in 2015, reports NPR.
For Chief Randy Ermineskin, a survivor of one of these residential schools, this apology means: “an invaluable opportunity to find some peace for [les survivants] and their family”reports Radio Canada.
Indeed, the damage done by the Catholic Church is priceless to some indigenous peoples and families. Separated from their parents, 150,000 children were forcibly placed in 139 schools and boarding schools, most of them run by the Catholic Church and under contract to the Canadian state. Their goal? To convert these children to Christianity and make them adhere to the so-called Canadian culture, he recalls: NPR. These practices have been around for over 150 years.