Pope Francis residential schools Justin Trudeau Canada

Trudeau: “No one must ever forget about what happened at residential schools”

The Prime Minister commented on the Pope’s long-awaited apology for the trauma inflicted on Indigenous peoples in the largely Catholic-run institutions, while critics are calling for action.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has reacted to a statement about residential schools made by Pope Francis yesterday at a gathering in Maskwacîs, Alberta. The Pope said he was sorry for the abuses that took place at residential schools in Canada, which were primarily run by the Catholic Church for the better part of a century.

While a number of Indigenous leaders, elders and residential school survivors commended the Pope’s apology as a positive step towards reconciliation, many critics noted that the apology was not made on behalf of the Catholic Church, and are calling for more meaningful action. In particular, as one heckler called for following the apology yesterday, many hope that Pope Francis will rescind the Doctrine of Discovery, the infamous 14th century papal document that was used to justify colonization and cultural genocide for centuries.

“Today in Maskwacîs, Pope Francis recognized the abuses suffered in church-operated residential schools – where more than 150,000 Indigenous children were forced to assimilate and lose their languages, cultures, spiritualities, traditions, and identities.

This historic moment would not have been possible without the advocacy and perseverance of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Survivors. Today is about you, and about all of the children who were taken from their families and robbed of their childhoods.

No one must ever forget about what happened at residential schools across the country, and we must all work to make sure it never happens again. Together, in the spirit of reconciliation and healing, we’ll keep building a better future — for Indigenous Peoples and all Canadians.

Our government is committed to doing just that. We’ll continue to take concrete action, advance meaningful reconciliation, and make real progress in partnership with Indigenous Peoples.”

—Justin Trudeau
Justin Trudeau: ”No one must ever forget about what happened at residential schools”

As part of his papal visit, Pope Francis is leading a mass in Edmonton today before travelling to Quebec City, where he will meet with Trudeau as well as Governor General Mary Simon tomorrow.

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