London, Ontario April 1st, 2022 – First Nation, Metis, and Inuit delegates who travelled to the Vatican to seek an apology from Pope John Francis for the Catholic Church’s role in Residential Schools, will return home with an apology. Accompanied by Catholic Bishops, the Pope spoke with the delegation and addressed a formal apology.
Grand Chief Joel Abram states “On one hand I am very pleased to hear this long overdue apology for the role the Catholic church played in one of our darkest moments in our history. On the other, I feel a little put off that we had to actively seek this apology and to travel across the waters to get this addressed. We shouldn’t have had to go to them especially when the knowledge of what has gone on has long been known by so many so ignorance cannot be used as an excuse. For a significant amount of Indigenous People this is too little too late.”
Deputy Grand Chief Stacia Loft states “The act of travelling to the Vatican for an apology is brave, but it should not have been necessary. The moment those children were discovered, the moment we demanded answers, the moment the world started to hear our truths is when the Vatican should have taken the opportunity to reconcile, not us. This victory is bittersweet as they have finally accepted responsibility for the wrongs they have done, but it will not bring back those that we’ve lost.”
The Association of Iroquois and Allied Indians are satisfied that the Pope has made an apology but now it’s time for action. The Pope needs to fulfill his commitment to visit Indigenous Peoples on their homelands It will be critical that Residential School survivors and their families set the agenda when the Pope visits, and not the Catholic Church. Reparations still need to be made with full transparency of any Residential School/Institution records the Vatican has and to provide monetary compensation that so many families need if we are to move forward.
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AIAI is mandated as a Political Territorial Organizations (PTO) to defend and enhance the Indigenous and Treaty rights of our seven member First Nations. Our member nations include: Batchewana First Nation, Caldwell First Nation, Eelunaapeewii Lahkeewiit, Hiawatha First Nation, Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte, Oneida Nation of the Thames, and the Wahta Mohawks. Learn more at www.aiai.on.ca, on twitter @AIAI_comms and on Facebook
For more information and media inquiries please contact Ira Timothy, Communications Coordinator for A.I.A.I at (519) 434-2761 or email at Itimothy@aiai.on.ca