Yukon Weekly

The Syilx Okanagan Nation Alliance has responded to Pope Francis’ apologies

The Syilx Okanagan Nation Alliance has reacted to Pope Francis' apologies

Key Takeaways:

  • Local reactions have been flooding due to Pope Francis’ apologies for the Catholic church’s involvement in Indian residential schools.
  • Thousands of Indigenous children were confined in residential schools, separated from their families and traditions while being abused.

Following Pope Francis’ apology for the Catholic church’s involvement in Indian residential schools, local reactions have been flooded.

“He’s angry and disappointed,” Osoyoos Indian Band Chief Clarence Louie said after viewing the apology.

“Let’s be honest; it was a forced apology.” It was a form of political remorse. “I don’t think it’s a sincere apology when someone is compelled to apologize,” Chief Louie added.

Thousands of Indigenous kids were incarcerated in residential schools, where they were taken from their cultures and families and were molested.

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“That church has a multibillion-dollar budget. It’s very, very wealthy, and it’s responsible for the extinction of our First Nations language, as well as a great deal of cultural damage. It should be allocating part of those billions to compensate for previous wrongdoings,” Louie added.

Beyond monetary compensation and an apology, Chief Louie believes more needs to be done.

“A criminal investigation should be conducted,” he stated.

“What would the RCMP do if only two non-native graves were discovered in this country?” They’d open a criminal probe into the matter. Where is the criminal inquiry into the 215 unmarked graves in Kamloops? There’s still a lot of racism.”

He went on to say that the apology was too late and that now was the time to act.

“No more false, forced apologies; no more pleasant words.” Anger and action are required. “I believe it is time for fury and action,” Louie stated.

The Syilx Okanagan Nation Alliance has reacted to Pope Francis' apologies
The Syilx Okanagan Nation Alliance has reacted to Pope Francis’ apologies. Image from Global News

In a message from the Syilx Okanagan Nation Alliance, Penticton Indian Band Chief Greg Gabriel also commented on the Pope’s apologies.

“Apologies and empty words from the Prime Minister and government officials, as well as a trip to the Vatican, can never heal the sorrow and hurt that our people have been exposed to, witnessed, and continue to experience,” Chief Gabriel said in a statement.

“There is no forgiveness for the murder as well as the attempted murder of our children; we are past apologies.” We have lost faith in colonial institutions’ processes, and we expect that the Vatican, the Roman Catholic Church, and the Canadian government go beyond mere apologies.”

Chief Gabriel also urged that the Catholic Church be held accountable.

“They ought to be investigated and held accountable since they actively and explicitly interfered with evidence of their crimes.” “We will not remain silent about governments or groups tampering with evidence, deflecting responsibility and accountability to serve their interests,” stated Chief Gabriel.

Source: Global News

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