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Church Apologies for Indian Residential Schools

Approximately 70% of the forced Indian Residential Schooling in Canada was done by the Roman Catholic church. Pope Benedict expressed his sorrow for the suffering of Indigenous people in Canada’s residential schools to the Assembly of First Nations’ National Chief, Phil Fontaine, in April of 2009. However, the Roman Catholic church still refuses to formally apologize for its role in Canada’s policy of forced Indigenous assimilation and Indian Residential Schooling. At the centre of this refusal to apologize lies the irrevocable papal bull Romanus Pontifex issued in 1455 by Pope Nicholas V. Centuries of destruction and genocide resulted from the application of this document and its framework of dominance against Indigenous Peoples and their lands, territories and resources.

Four religious organizations in Canada have formally apologized to Indigenous people. Their apologies can be seen below:

Background on Indian Residential Schools:


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Last Updated July 28, 2019