Northern Archbishop Meets National Chief

Tuesday, January 29, 2008 at 13:14



National Chief Phil Fontaine met with a group of Catholic bishops for the first time today to discuss ongoing efforts toward healing and reconciliation regarding the residential schools experience.


Today’s gathering in Ottawa is the latest in a series of meetings initiated by the leader of the Assembly of First Nations.


Fontaine calls the Catholic leaders “allies” in the challenging healing process that survivors and their families are going through.


The AFN leader says the cooperation of all stakeholders will be crucial to the success of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.


The man that oversees the Catholic archdiocese in northern Saskatchewan and Manitoba, Archbishop Sylvain Lavoie, was one of the bishops at today’s meeting in Ottawa.


Lavoie notes, in his diocese alone, the church is involved in three IRS healing programs in collaboration with First Nations communities.


He says they are also asking new priests coming to the diocese to learn Dene and Cree as a way of supporting the culture and the language.


Lavoie says Catholic representatives are grateful for Fontaine’s support, and the active role he took in negotiating the residential schools settlement agreement.