Ottawa (Ontario) (April 29, 2009) - On April 29, 2009, a delegation representing former Indian residential school students, led by the Assembly of First Nations, met with Pope Benedict XVI. The Pope expressed his sorrow at "the anguish caused by the deplorable conduct of some members of the Church" experienced by Aboriginal students in residential schools.
The Government of Canada welcomes the Pope's expression of sorrow to former students of Indian Residential Schools. This is a significant step that will allow former students and their families to continue with their healing process.
On June 11, 2008 Canada offered an apology to former students of Indian residential schools and admitted that the treatment of children in these schools was a sad chapter in our history. Canada also recognizes that the consequences of the Indian residential schools policy were profoundly negative and that this policy has had a lasting and damaging impact on Aboriginal culture, heritage and language.
We recognize that bringing closure to the legacy of the Indian residential school system lies at the heart of reconciliation and a renewal of the relationships between Aboriginal people who attended these schools, their families and communities, and all Canadians.
Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians
For more information, please contact:
Office of the Honourable Chuck Strahl
Indian and Northern Affairs Canada