Pope Francis expressed his pain over the discovery of the remains of 215 Indigenous students of church-run boarding schools in Kamloops, Canada and emphasized the religious and political authorities to shed light on this sad affair. While addressing the public in St. Peter’s Square on Sunday, Pope Francis further said that he joins the Canadian bishops and the entire Catholic Church in Canada in expressing his closeness to the Canadian people traumatized by the shocking news. He added that the political and religious authorities continue to collaborate on a path of reconciliation and healing. However, Pope Francis didn’t offer the apology sought by the Canadian prime minister and “Tk’emlups te Secwepemc” the victim nation of British Columbia during his remarks regarding the recently discovered remains of the indigenous students in Canada.
Two days earlier, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau demanded the Vatican to apologize and take responsibilities of the incident, because during the 19th century until the 1970s, more than 150,000 Indigenous children were forced to attend state-funded Christian schools, the majority of them run by Roman Catholic missionary congregations, in a attempt to integrate them into Canadian society. It was said that the school was Canada’s largest such facility and was operated by the Catholic Church between 1890 and 1969. Canadian Prime Minister also said that Canadian Church is still resistant in moving toward an apology for the tragic incident.
According to history, the Canadian government authorized the churches to run the state funded residential schools for indigenous people for the purpose of their forced assimilation into Canadian society during 1974 to 1996. The children were forced to speak English or French instead of their native languages and convert to Christianity. The parents faced imprisonment if they did not comply with the government’s policy. According to Indian Residential Schools Survivors Society, more than 70 % Boarding Schools were being managed by the Canadian Catholic Church. According to reports, the first such remains were discovered in the early 2000s and after that efforts were launched to find more such collective graves in certain areas of the country.
A Canadian Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) released a report in 2015 and declared this government-Church ran conspiracy as a cultural genocide of the indigenous Canadian people. Reports suggest that the indigenous children were usually kept in old buildings, with poor facilities of teaching and lodging. The students were beaten for speaking their native languages. Many of the children never came back to their homes and parents were unable to know the whereabouts of their children.
In fact, it is not the only Church behind this heinous act, but the Colonial British government is the real perpetrator, who formulated the policy of state-run boarding Schools and involved Churches in this conspiracy. Churches must be denounced for their nefarious role in supporting the hands of criminal foreign occupiers. Both the Crown and Christ conspired to deprive real inhabitants of the land from their genuine rights of dignified living, education, jobs opportunities and freedom of religion. Surprisingly, this heinous crime continued till 1996 and the public representatives failed to overthrow it from the country. Today, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is lashing out at the Church for this inhumane act whereas Canadian Colonial government and its Patron in-chief, UK is also equally responsible for this crime. Therefore, all these conspirators must be condemned for this act and they all must seek apology from Canadian public.