The First Nations delegation is led by the regional head ofAPNFor the Northwest Territories, Dene Norman Yakelia, and includes 14 members from all regions of the country.
His Holiness’s apology will be very important, Chief Yakeley said in a statement, but it is also important to think about what will happen in the post-apology world. That’s why we have two youth representatives. This meeting is an opportunity to shape the future of our children and their children.
Mr Yackley also indicated that the meeting in Rome was the next step in the Canadian Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Call to Action 58, which reads as follows:
We, on behalf of the Roman Catholic Church, call on the Pope to apologize to the victims of the spiritual, cultural, emotional, physical and sexual abuse, their families and affected communities, faced by the children of First Nations, Inuit and Métis. Residential school run by the Catholic Church. We want this apology to be similar to the apology made in 2010 to Irish people who were abused and apologized by the Pope in Canada within a year of the publication of this report.
For his part, the bishops of Canada wish to present this meeting to the sovereign pontiff so that he can,
Church Name See the lived experiences of residential school survivors, and so that he can see the consequences that persist in these people, said Bishop Raymond Poisson, president of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CECC), last week.
Last September, the CCCB apologized to First Nations for misbehavior in residential schools. Bishop Poisson expects Pope Francis to move in that direction.
In addition to Mr. Yakelya, the First Nations delegation brings together the following people:
- Mandy Gul-Mustie, Grand Chief of the Cree First Nation of Vaswanipi, Representative of Quebec;
- Tk’emlúps te Secwe̓pemc Head of the First Nation, Rosanne Casimir, representative of British Columbia;
- Adeline Weber of the Kukhitan clan of the Teslin Tlingit nation, representative of the Yukon;
- Wilton Littlechild, Chief of the Erminskene Cree Nation, Representative of Alberta;
- John Bekele from the Dene Nation, representing the Northwest Territories;
- Marie-Anne de Walker-Pelletier, Chief of the Oakenese First Nation, represents Saskatchewan;
- Phil Fontaine, representative of the Sagkeng First Nation, Manitoba;
- Marlene Cloud, Kettle and Stony Point Ojibwa First Nation, Ontario Representative;
- Rosalie LaBillois, Mickamaw Eel River Bar First Nation, New Brunswick representative;
- Marlene Thomas of the Mickamaw First Nation of Lennox Island represents Prince Edward Island;
- Phyllis Googoo of the Wekobah Mikamo First Nation, representing Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador;
- Taylor Behn-Sakoza, representing the youth of Fort Nelson First Nation, British Columbia;
- Fred Kelly, Ojibwa Onigming’s First Nation, Ontario, spiritual advisor.
Representatives from Metis and Inuit will also be part of the delegation that will meet with the Pope.
Indigenous representatives will reach the Vatican on 14 December and will meet Pope Francis on 20 December.
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