'Apologies are impactful...and they are the bare minimum': Canadian Indigenous People respond to the Pope's apology

·1-min read

As Pope Francis completes a week-long tour in Canada, Yahoo News Canada asked Indigenous advocates and activists across the country to speak on the impact of his visit and apology for the Catholic Church's role in the brutal residential school regime that sparked generations of trauma, violence and abuse.

Riley Yesno. Indigenous rights activist and writer.
Riley Yesno. Indigenous rights activist and writer.

The Pope’s apology is significant insofar as it brings many survivors a sense of peace. I do not take that lightly. However, I am also cognizant of how profoundly this apology and visit has failed many Indigenous people— and I take their disappointment, rage, and sadness seriously, too. Apologies are impactful, and they are also the bare minimum. When and if we see action from the church, including returning land, resources, documents, and artifacts as well as other called upon actions, only them might we see significance in the way Indigenous people deserve and demand.Riley Yesno

Jasmine Girard is from Kazaagitaway'igamaag First Nation. She works as a Housing Coordinator for an Indigenous Development Corporation.
Jasmine Girard is from Kazaagitaway'igamaag First Nation. She works as a Housing Coordinator for an Indigenous Development Corporation.

Rescind the doctrine of discovery, an apology without retribution holds no gravity. To think that horrible crimes were committed and no justice was ever served goes much farther than asking for forgiveness. Hold those accountable as was done for those involved in the war crimes of the Holocaust. The apology is another failed response that has a graver impact on the victim than the actual abuse itself. There is not one Indigenous person that hasn’t been affected, myself included. It has been a very heavy week, and as a lot of hurt resurfaces, I send love to all our Indigenous community, residential survivors and ask Creator for peace to continue to walk our healing journeys.Jasmine Girard

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