Indigenous Canadians Want Reparations After Papal Apology

Indigenous Canadians Want Reparations After Papal Apology

July 27, 2022

In a statement this week following Pope Francis’ declaration of sorrow for the ways in which many Christians “supported the colonizing mentality of the powers that oppressed the indigenous peoples,” a major organization of Inuit native Canadians insists an apology is insufficient, calling on the Catholic Church to pony up monetary reparations.

Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. (NTI) has called on the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops to provide financing to the Nunavut Tunngavik Foundation for culture and healing programs for Nunavut Inuit negatively impacted by their time in residential schools.

“Sorrow is not an admission of culpability. Anyone can feel sad over the deaths of children,” said Charlie Angus, a member of parliament from the New Democratic Party (NDP), in June. “He needs to take responsibility for the policies that caused those deaths. It is time to apologize, turn over the documents and pay the money.”

“We would like to see immediate action, whether they take it out of their own pockets, or whatever it may be. If the will is there, and the sincerity is there, and the heart is there from the Catholic Church in Canada, they will find a way,” said Chief Bobby Cameron of the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations in Saskatchewan last August.

Given the scale of the damage done, Cameron said the Church’s response should be far more than the $25 million promised in 2006.

“I would say in excess of $500 million,” Cameron said. “Because there are a lot of survivors and descendants – there are hundreds of thousands of people affected by this. There’s a lot of healing and initiatives to help our First Nations move forward.”

Five hundred million dollars is an awful lot of healing.

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