Catholic Bishops in Canada have officially apologised for their role in the residential school system, despite refusing to do so for years.
The operated between 1831 and 1996 and removed around 150,000 Indigenous children from their families.
Residential schools operated between1831 and 1996, 150,000 First Nations children were separated from their families and placed into the system. This removal was a product of the Government’s “assimilation programme”.
First Nations children were forced to convert to Christianity and stripped of their right to speak traditional languages.
The notorious church-run school system inflicted abuse upon the children for over a century. It is believed 6,000 children passed away as a result.
Now the Bishops are apologising “unequivocally” to Canada’s Indigenous Peoples for their role in the system.
NEW: Catholic Bishops of Cda re residential schools “we, the Catholic Bishops of Canada, express our profound remorse and apologize unequivocally.” Pope to meet Indigenous community contingent in Rome in December.#bcpoli #cdnpoli @NEWS1130 #NationalDayforTruthandReconciliation pic.twitter.com/6apl2mupzp
— LizaYuzda (@LizaYuzda) September 24, 2021
On Friday the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops released a statement expressing their “profound remorse” by all Catholic parties directly involved with the schools.
“We acknowledge the grave abuses that were committed by some members of our Catholic community; physical, psychological, emotional, spiritual, cultural, and sexual,” the statement read.
“Along with those Catholic entities which were directly involved in the operation of the schools and which have already offered their own heartfelt apologies.
“we, the Catholic Bishops of Canada, express our profound remorse and apologise unequivocally.”
The Canadian Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) was set up to investigate the effects of the residential school system.
The TRC reportedly found that the children were malnourished, beaten, and abused labelling it “cultural genocide”.
A recommendation from the TRC was a papal apology – the Canadian government apologised in Parliament in 2008 and admitted that physical and sexual abuse in the schools was rampant.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has formally requested for the Pope to make an apology from The Vatican.
However the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops said the Pope felt he could not personally apologise for the residential schools.
The Pope is set to meet with a selection of Indigenous delegates in Rome in December.
By Teisha Cloos