A simple “We’re sorry” from the Pope isn’t going to cut it for the Fort Norman Métis community.

Fort Norman Métis Community President Lindsay Norwegian said as much in a press release issued June 28.

“More than 150,000 First Nations, Métis, and Inuit children attended the church-run schools or student residences between their establishment in the 1870s and the closure of the last residence in the mid-1990s,” said Norwegian in the release. “The crimes were harsh and damaging, and that pain many of our survivors carry today. More importantly, many victims have passed on and took their pain with them to their graves.

“We are expecting a response, to our modest request, to the Fort Norman Métis Community to hear from the Pope admitting what took place. The church knowingly hired criminals and turned a blind eye to what was taking place.”

Contending that the Roman Catholic Church has deflected the blame for the abuse that occurred at residential schools, Norwegian said anything less than a full acknowledgement by the Pope of the crimes that occurred is unacceptable.

She said this includes the abuse itself and the efforts to cover up the abuse in the years since. If the Pope meets these expectations, Norwegian said he must allow follow up with concrete action to right the wrongs committed.

Comparing the situation to taking communion, Norwegian said the Pope cannot realistically expect forgiveness of the church’s past sins until the church confesses them and repents.

“All we want is for the church to promise that they will never commit such crimes ever again,” she said. “The request is both humble and must be received with a sincere reply to the survivors and their families.”

Eric Bowling

Your source for all things happening in the Beaufort Delta. Eric jumped at the chance to write for the Inuvik Drum after cutting his teeth in Alberta. He enjoys long walks, loud music and strong coffee....

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