Catholic bishops in Canada apologized “unequivocally” to Indigenous people for the suffering endured in residential schools, just as Pope Francis prepares to meet with Indigenous leaders at the Vatican later this fall, PTI reported.
The institutions held children taken from families across the nation. From the 19th century until the 1970s, more than 150,000 First Nations children were required to attend State-funded Christian schools as part of a programme to assimilate them into Canadian society. They were forced to convert to Christianity and not allowed to speak their native languages. Many were beaten and verbally abused, and up to 6,000 are said to have died.
The church has been heavily criticized for refusing to provide all documents requested by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and for raising less than one-sixth of a $25-million Canadian fund promised for reconciliation and healing as part of the 2007 Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement.