Papal apology will await his visit to Turtle Island next year: AFN delegate

(ANNews) РFirst Nations, Inuit and M̩tis delegates who will travel to the Vatican next week and meet Pope Francis on December 20 will not receive an apology for the role of the Catholic Church in the operation of residential schools , reports APTN News.

But the Manitoba delegate to the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) says it’s because the Pope will apologize when he comes to Canada, which could happen as early as fall 2022, which could coincide with the second annual Truth and Reconciliation Day on September 21. 30.

“It would be a terrible waste of time if the Pope made a commitment, as he has, to come to Canada and not apologize when he is here,” the former national chief told APTN. from the AFN, Phil Fontaine.

“I think it makes sense to have him, to have an apology, when he’s here, during his trip to Canada.”

On October 27, the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) declared that the Pope had accepted his invitation to “visit Canada on a pilgrimage of healing and reconciliation.”

AFN said the CCCB will pay for the costs of his trip to the Vatican, but the cost has not yet been revealed.

Last week, the AFN revealed 14 community leaders from across Turtle Island who will be traveling to the Vatican in two weeks to meet with Pope Francis.

The delegation is led by Norman Yakeleya of the Dene Nation, who is the AFN’s regional chief for the Northwest Territories, and includes survivors of residential institutions of assimilation and genocide, as well as two youth delegates.

Alberta is represented by Dr. Wilton Littlechild of the Ermineskin Cree Nation, who served as the Grand Chief of the Treaty Six First Nations Confederacy, was Commissioner of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and, from 1988 to 1993 , was a Progressive Conservative Member of Parliament for Wetaskiwin.

Littlechild told CBC he would use the meeting with the Pope to stress the importance of a formal apology.

“All I want to hear are three words, ‘I’m sorry’, and then I can begin my own healing journey,” he said.

The head of the delegation, Yakeleya, said in a press release that this trip to the Vatican helps answer the CVR’s call to action No.58, which calls on “the Pope to apologize to the survivors [emphasis in original], their families and their communities for the role of the Roman Catholic Church in the spiritual, cultural, emotional, physical and sexual abuse of First Nations, Inuit and Métis children in Catholic residential schools.

“[W]While His Holiness’s apology is so important, it’s also important to think about what happens in a post-apology world, ”Yakeleya said. “This is part of the reason why we are honored to have two young delegates. This gathering is an opportunity to shape the future of our children and their children.

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