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Logan pleased with Pope’s decision to come to Canada and meet indigenous leaders

Lheidli T’enneh Chief Dolleen Logan. Bill Phillips photo

Lheidli T’enneh First Nation Chief Dolleen Logan is pleased that Pope Francis will visit Canada and meet with Indigenous leaders about the wrongs suffered by Indigenous children at Catholic run residential schools.

Earlier this year a group of Canadian Indigenous leaders announced that they would meet with the Pope at the Vatican in December and request an apology for the deaths and ill-treatment of Indigenous children while attending Catholic run residential schools. Logan and other Indigenous leaders said that wasn’t good enough and that for true healing to begin, the Pope must come to Canada and the visit the sites of former residential schools where children died, and many suffered.

“While we do not know the details yet of the Pope’s trip to Canada, I am pleased that he plans visit and meet with Indigenous leaders,” Logan said in a news release. “Nearly three-quarters of the 130 residential schools in Canada were run by Roman Catholic missionary congregations. Thousands of Indigenous children attended Catholic run residential schools between the mid-1800s and as late as the 1990s. Too many died while in the care of Catholic Priests and Nuns and many more suffered terrible abuses.  The impacts on the families of those kids who did not make it home from residential school is evident today. The impacts on the residential school survivors and their families is equally as devastating.

“The very least the Pope can do is to meet with our leaders at the sites of some of the Catholic run residential schools and meet some of the families of children who attended those schools. He can listen carefully to the stories of what the deaths and abuses of children who attended those schools has meant to their families and their communities. It won’t be easy but if he is sincere in wanting to begin a reconciliation process with Indigenous people in Canada it must be done. I also recommend strongly that he begin his visit to Canada with a stop in Kamloops to visit the site of the former Kamloops Residential School where the remains of 215 children were discovered in May.”

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