Inuvialuit Regional Corporation will not send a delegation to meet the Pope during his July 29 visit to Iqaluit, Nunavut, openly questioning the commitment of the Catholic Church to righting the wrongs committed to Indigenous and Inuit peoples of Turtle Island.
A July 22 press release explains the IRC’s stance on the visit, noting the church has yet to commit funding for rehabilitation of its victims and the IRC is respectfully declining the invite.
“The Roman Catholic Church operated three residential schools in the Inuvialuit Settlement Region,” reads the statement. “Inuvialuit continue to bear the burden of intergenerational trauma stemming from residential schools and will never forget these atrocities.
“Until there is a clear statement made by the Roman Catholic church committing to address past wrongs, IRC will withhold any involvement (while the church continues to withhold any settlement payments, despite promises made in the Indian Residential School Settlement Agreement.)”
In addition to committing funds for rehabilitation, the statement adds the IRC expects direct communication with the Catholic Church to collaborate on a “real approach to reconciliation.” In their absence, the IRC is inviting the Holy See and Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops to reflect on the Catholic Church’s role in colonization of Inuvialuit Nunangat.
Noting some Inuvialuit are travelling to see the Pope on their own, the statement added the IRC wishes those people the best in their healing journey.