While a recent apology from Catholic leaders may be welcome, a centre focusing on healing and dialogue for Residential School Survivors says they are still waiting on another from the Pope.
On Friday, the Catholic Bishops of Canada issued an apology for their role in residential schools.
"We, the Catholic Bishops of Canada, express our profound remorse and apologize unequivocally," the statement says.
The statement continued on to acknowledge the "grave abuses that were committed by some members of our Catholic community" including spiritual and sexual abuse. Catholic groups have issued their own apologies in the past, but this is the first collective apology from major Canadian Catholic leaders.
On Monday, the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation is releasing its own statement in response. They say they are welcoming the formal apology from the Catholic Bishops of Canada but are waiting for an apology from the Pope.
“It cannot be forgotten that the highest number of atrocities and loss of life have been found in residential schools run by the Catholic Church, and it is time for the Pope to issue an apology," Executive Director Stephanie Scott says.
A group of Indigenous leaders will be going to the Vatican in December, meeting with Pope Francis and asking for a formal papal apology. This is Call 58 from the 94 Calls to Action. There have been 14 calls completed since 2015.
Scott says it is everyone's responsibility, both Indigenous and non-Indigenous, to fulfill these calls.
Lila Bruyere from the NCTR’s Survivor Circle says "people still hesitate to use the word genocide, but for those who lived through it as children, it could not be anything else. The importance of the Pope issuing an apology directly to Survivors on the very land where the atrocities were committed cannot be understated."
In the Catholic Bishops of Canada apology, they said they are committing to provide documentation and records to help memorialize people in unmarked graves.
“The commitment by the Catholic bishops’ to provide records to help memorialize those buried in unmarked graves is a step forward, but much still needs to be done to ensure these records are provided to the NCTR and to the communities affected," Scott says.