Nearly three-quarters of the 130 residential schools are run by a Catholic missionary congregation.
Last May, Tk’emlups te Secwepemc Nation announced the discovery of about 215 graves near Kamloops, British Columbia, which were discovered using ground-penetrating radar. It was Canada’s largest Indigenous housing school, and the discovery of the grave was the first of many similar grim sites across the country.
Even before the site was discovered, Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission specifically called for a papal apology to be delivered on Canadian soil for the church’s role in the “spiritual, cultural, emotional, physical, and sexual harassment of First Nations, Inuit, and Metis.” children in Catholic-run residential schools.”
Francis has committed to travel to Canada, although no visit date has been announced.
“Basically, reconciliation requires action. And we still need very specific action from the Catholic Church,” said Natan Obed, president of the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, who led the Inuit delegation. He cited reparations that the Canadian church ordered to pay, as well as his willingness to find out the truth about the scope of abuses at the school.
“This more than opens the door to records, it also leads to a general willingness to use church resources to help in any way possible,” he told the AP.
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