Indigenous Canadians Ask Pope Francis to ‘Show Me the Money’
Share this

ROME — A major organization of Inuit native Canadians has insisted that Pope Francis’ apology was insufficient, calling on the Catholic Church to pony up monetary reparations.

Pope Francis’ apology is “only one step towards reconciliation,” Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. (NTI) said in a statement following the pontiff’s declaration of sorrow this week for the ways in which many Christians “supported the colonizing mentality of the powers that oppressed the indigenous peoples.”

“Inuit have finally been heard and their experiences acknowledged,” said Aluki Kotierk, president of NTI, which sent a delegation of 55 Nunavut Inuit to Edmonton to witness the papal apology.

Now NTI has called on the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops to provide financing to the Nunavut Tunngavik Foundation for culture and healing programs for Nunavut Inuit negatively impacted by their time in residential schools.

Pope Francis blesses the lake during the Lac Ste. Anne Pilgrimage and Liturgy of the Word at Lac Ste. Anne, northwest of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, July 26, 2022. (VINCENZO PINTO/AFP via Getty)

NTI is not the only indigenous group angling for monetary reparations from the Catholic Church for past mistakes.

In June, Charlie Angus, a member of parliament from the New Democratic Party (NDP), said the pope’s words of sorrow “ring hollow in Canada” and should be backed up financially.

“Sorrow is not an admission of culpability. Anyone can feel sad over the deaths of children,” Angus said in a statement. “He needs to take responsibility for the policies that caused those deaths. It is time to apologize, turn over the documents and pay the money.”

Chief Bobby Cameron of the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations in Saskatchewan is another indigenous leader who has called for a more practical financial response from the Catholic Church to address the trauma experienced by students of residential schools.

“We would like to see immediate action, whether they take it out of their own pockets, or whatever it may be. If the will is there, and the sincerity is there, and the heart is there from the Catholic Church in Canada, they will find a way,” he said last August.

An indigenous woman has an emotional moment as Pope Francis holds open-air mass at Commonwealth Stadium during his visit in Alberta, Canada, on July 26, 2022. (Lincoln Ho/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Clergy looking over Lac Ste Anne during Pope Francis ‘s visit in Alberta, Canada, on July 26, 2022. (Lincoln Ho/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Given the scale of the damage done, Cameron said that the Church’s response should be far more than a $25 million sum promised in 2006.

“I would say in excess of $500 million,” Cameron said. “Because there are a lot of survivors and descendants – there are hundreds of thousands of people affected by this. There’s a lot of healing and initiatives to help our First Nations move forward.”

Chief Robert Joseph of Reconciliation Canada welcomed the pope’s apology this week but insisted that the lack of an action plan to repair the harms caused by residential schools in the papal text was notable and disappointing.

“The pope would have been a lot more forceful if he said we have a plan to implement reconciliation,” said Joseph, the hereditary chief of the Gwawaenuk First Nation.

According to the BBC, Pope Francis’ pledge of Church support this week for Canada’s indigenous people “may have felt like a step in the right direction for those saying compensation and investment — in ways that would benefit native peoples — will truly help make amends.”

Share this
You May Also Like

Sen. Blackburn Blasts FBI for Raiding Trump but Not Obama, Clinton

Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) blasted the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for…

First sea turtle nest found on Mississippi beach since 2018

PASS CHRISTIAN, Miss. (AP) — Beach crews have found the first sea…

Fatal crash knocks out power, closes road in Brooksville

BROOKSVILLE, Fla. (WFLA) — A person died after crashing their car into…

Moment daredevil leaps onto a slide and is catapulted 30ft into the air before slamming face

Le belly flop! Moment daredevil leaps onto a slide and is catapulted…

Seven Dems vote for GOP amendment, forcing Democratic scramble

CORRECTION: Seven Democrats voted for the GOP amendment that would extend a…

Cease-fire Begins Between Israel, Iran-backed Palestinian Islamic Jihad

An Egyptian-brokered cease-fire began Sunday evening at 11:30 p.m. local time between…

Spelunkers find dog missing for months in Missouri cave

Kevin S. Held, Nexstar Media Wire Posted: Aug 8, 2022 / 04:16…

2 dead, 5 missing after migrant boat capsizes

KEY WEST, Fla. – Two people died and five were missing after…