The Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations (FSIN) is once again calling for Pope Francis to visit Saskatchewan when he comes to Canada.

The FSIN is being joined in their most recent call by leadership from Muskowekwan First Nation, where a former residential school building still stands. Unmarked graves have as well been found on the grounds.

At a media conference late Monday morning on the First Nation current Muskowekwan Chief Jamie Wolf spoke about what it would mean to some members of the community to have the leader of the Catholic Church personally deliver an apology.

“To hear those words of forgiveness would be life changing to some that still believe in that way and culture,” he said.

The Chief said having the Pope come to the First Nation to personally offer an apology is something he welcomes adding it is not something he would want to see on television.

“I would want the person here, in person, to have them come and say sorry for what you had to endure in this school,” he said.

A number of leaders from a range of different organizations spoke at the media conference Monday including FSIN Chief Bobby Cameron and First Vice Chief David Pratt. During his remarks Pratt spoke about the visit to The Vatican where Pope Francis offered an apology for the church’s role in Canada’s Residential School system. Pratt said being present for that apology is a moment that will stay with him.

“For a lot of our survivors it meant a lot to them, we know that many had mixed emotions, but I think its important and that’s one thing we’ve been taught and raised is the importance of respecting each others thoughts and values,” he said.

First Nations leaders calls are getting support from leadership of the Catholic Church in Saskatchewan. Archbishop Donald Bolen, who leads the Archdiocese of Regina told those assembled at Muskowekwan that he would also like to see the Pope come to the nation to offer an apology.

“You have my support in that regard, that would be a beautiful and powerful thing,” he said.

Bolen added his role in the process of deciding where Francis will visit is limited and said he cannot say for certain if a visit to Muskowekwan will happen. The Archbishop explained he was recently at The Vatican in Rome for meetings and did attend an event where the Pope was in attendance.

“He’s now in wheelchair and hopefully not for too long, but he’s not in good health, so we have been told that there are very few locations where he’s going to be able to visit for health reasons,” he said.

(The former residential school on Muskowekwan First Nation)