The Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations wants the Roman Catholic Church to honour its commitment to compensate former students of residential schools.
The Church agreed to pay $25 million in recognition of its historic wrongs at the schools it operated, including the Marieval residential school.
Recently the Cowessess First Nation announced that 751 unmarked graves were discovered at the former site.
The FSIN said the Church has raised just over $4 million.
“Thousands of First Nations children were victims of emotional, physical and sexual abuse at these church-run residential schools. They were starved, shamed, and beaten for speaking their languages and stripped of their culture, traditions, and identity. These wrongs were committed by the Catholic Church and our survivors deserve a proper apology and compensation for what was done to them; not broken promises,” said Chief Bobby Cameron.
National Indigenous leaders have secured an audience with Pope Francis in the Vatican in December. The FSIN again called on the pontiff to apologize.
“Any act of healing requires a full recognition of harm done and an apology that has not been given by the Catholic Church. People expect to see Pope Francis deliver that in a full complete and comprehensive manner,” explained Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller. “When it comes to the compensation that was insufficient, any sums that the church can contribute to help with compensation and healing we will continue to advocate it. [It’s a] very puzzling decision that was made with respect to that $25 million. And I think it’s a head scratcher for a lot of us.”
(Photo of Chief Bobby Cameron.)