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VIDEO: Apology by the Bishops of Canada to the Indigenous Peoples of this Land

On behalf of His Eminence Thomas Cardinal Collins, Archbishop of Toronto, we share with you a video featuring Bishops from across the country reading the “Apology by the Bishops of Canada to the Indigenous Peoples of this Land.”

The video was shown during the Cardinal’s Annual Dinner, a virtual event this year, and was produced with the assistance of Salt & Light Catholic Media Foundation.

The video (bilingual) can be shared to parishes and the public via the following link: https://youtu.be/M6BazS2PEN0

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VIDEO: Archbishop Smith talks about upcoming Indigenous Delegation to Rome

The delegation departs from Canada on December 14th, and will return on the 21st. Three of the official delegates are from Alberta: Chief Wilton Littlechild of Maskwacis, Angie Crerar of Grande Prairie and Gary Gagnon of St. Albert. While in Rome, the Pope will grant three distinct one-hour private audiences with the First Nations, Metis, and Inuit delegates respectively. These will be followed by a fourth encounter with the entire group, at which other Indigenous people from Canada will be present.

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Canadian Bishops invite Residential School Survivors, Indigenous Elders, Knowledge Keepers and Youth to meet with Pope Francis

The Catholic Bishops of Canada are pleased to announce that 25-30 First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Elders, knowledge keepers, residential school survivors, and youth will meet with Pope Francis at the Vatican from December 17-20, 2021, accompanied by a small group of Canadian Bishops.

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VIDEOS: Healing & Reconciliation Series

The abuse of Indigenous peoples is a dark chapter in the history of Canada and of the Catholic Church. This two-part webinar series is a brief reflection on the history of the residential schools and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the long road towards Healing and Reconciliation. This educational video is presented by Edmonton Archbishop Richard Smith, Deacon John Brown, Cardinal Thomas Collins - the Archbishop of Toronto - and Neil McCarthy, the director of communications for the Toronto Archdiocese.

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Restoring languages will help right past wrongs

From funding language immersion programs to setting up university chairs for Indigenous linguists, there’s no shortage of ways Canadian Catholics might serve Indigenous communities trying to recover their language

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Treaty Land Acknowledgments in Churches and at Liturgical Events

Acknowledging God as giver of the gift is in itself an act of praise. Therefore, where it is deemed appropriate to offer a treaty land acknowledgment at an event held in a Catholic church or at a liturgical event hosted in a Catholic institution, the following formulation is to be used:

“We acknowledge that Treaty territory, on which we stand, is the ancestral traditional land of the Indigenous peoples, and is common home to everyone in virtue of God, our Creator’s, gracious gift.”

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Indigenous delegation to Vatican could come by end of the year

Canada’s Catholic bishops remain committed to moving forward with a delegation of Indigenous people to the Vatican to meet with Pope Francis by the end of this year.

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Researcher: ‘Mass grave’ narrative misses need for answers

Anthropologist Dr. Scott Hamilton said in an interview that he believes his study provides important detail and context for a public grappling with the implications of the Kamloops news. Hamilton said the “mass grave” description “misses the point with the residential-school story,” a story that unfolded over more than a century and in which appalling conditions led to high death rates due to disease, the most devastating of which was tuberculosis.

Deceased students were often buried in simple graveyards near the schools because federal authorities provided no funding to send the bodies home or to conduct proper burials.

The result, Hamilton told The B.C. Catholic, was that the children were interred in de facto “pauper’s graves” with simple wooden crosses that have deteriorated and disappeared over the decades.

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Archbishop's Letter on Kamloops 215

We must acknowledge the role played by Catholic organizations in the residential school system. I recall my own testimony to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, given on behalf of the Catholic Bishops of Alberta and the Northwest Territories:

“We apologize to those who experienced sexual and physical abuse in residential schools under Catholic administration. We also express our apology and regret for Catholic participation in government policies that resulted in children being separated from their families, and often suppressed Aboriginal culture and language at the residential schools.”

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Statement on Grandin name

The people of the Archdiocese of Edmonton share the deep pain felt by Indigenous Peoples, and indeed all Canadians, arising from the disclosure that what is believed to be the remains of 215 children were found at the former Kamloops Indian Residential School in B.C.

The painful legacy of residential schools, many of which were originally under Catholic administration, reverberates to this day.

The name Bishop Vital-Justin Grandin, central Alberta’s first bishop, appears in a variety of contexts: on buildings, schools, and neighbourhoods. We acknowledge that it represents a controversial and mixed legacy. Although Bishop Grandin is rightly remembered for the many good things he accomplished, nevertheless the association of his name with the sad and tragic legacy of residential schools has rendered it for many people a reminder of very painful experiences.

The Archdiocese is ready to engage and work directly with First Nations, school districts, Franco-Albertan communities, the City of Edmonton, the provincial government and all stakeholders in an ongoing and meaningful conversation about the next steps.

We are committed and working towards finding a solution that is respectful to all parties involved.

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