Call to Action # 58: Actions and Commitments

Indigenous plans for pope's visit


July 26, 2022


Catholic Church

Inuit Planning And Preparations Set The Stage For Warm Welcome Of Pope Francis To Inuit Homeland

Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, together with Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated, Makivik Corporation and the Nunatsiavut Government, are coordinating efforts for Inuit participation in the Papal Visit to Canada. This has focused on preparations for a visit by Pope Francis to Iqaluit this week, but it also included work to ensure that Inuit survivors are able to witness and receive an expected apology on Canadian soil delivered at the first official event, in Edmonton.

On July 25, Natan Obed, President of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, and Aluki Kotierk, President of Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated, and an Inuit delegation of residential school survivors, intergenerational survivors and supports will attend a gathering by Pope Francis and First Nations, Metis and Inuit survivors at the former Ermineskin Residential School at Maskwacis, about an hour south of Edmonton.

On July 26, President Obed and a small delegation of survivors, and supports will travel to Lac Ste. Anne, Alberta, site of an annual pilgrimage that welcomes tens of thousands of Indigenous participants each year. He will join leadership from the Assembly of First Nations and the Metis National Council at these sites, and will welcome them to Iqaluit on July 29.

On July 27, President Obed will travel to Quebec City to participate in a visit with State Officials and Public Address by Pope Francis at the Citadelle de Quebec.

On July 29, Inuit will welcome Pope Francis to Inuit Nunangat. Inuit are honoured that Mary Simon, the Governor General of Canada, will also participate in the day’s events.

At approximately 4:15 ET, Pope Francis will gather with Inuit survivors and intergenerational survivors of residential schools for an intimate encounter inside Nakasuk School. He will be greeted by the Governor General, as well as an elder and youth representative. President Kotierk will facilitate the gathering.

Pope Francis will share in the lighting of the qulliq in a gymnasium recreated with the warmth and comfort of an igloo. Four individuals will deliver personal testimonies on behalf of themselves and their families. The event will be witnessed by a number of survivors and leaders from across Inuit Nunangat.

Following the event, at approximately 5 pm, Pope Francis and survivors will proceed to the grounds in front of Nakasuk School to join a public cultural event. The public event begins at 4 pm with performers from across Inuit Nunangat. There will be a brief pause in the program as Pope Francis takes the stage. The stage will be set to suggest a qammaq, an Inuit summer home, reflecting traditional construction materials – whale ribs, sod, stone.

Cultural performers were chosen by Inuit partners to highlight Inuit traditions that were nearly lost during the residential schools era. The artists contributing to all aspects of the day’s events, including arrival and departure ceremonies, tell a cohesive story of resilience and strength through trauma, and the revitalization of cultural practices that are now actively taught and learned.

Performers include

  • Kattajjak throat singers Akinisie Sivuarapk and Emily Sallualuk of Puvurnituq, Nunavik
  • Qiavaaq throat singers Lois Suluk and Mary Anautalik of Arviat, Nunavut
  • Huqqullaaqatigiit drum dancers of Cambridge Bay, Nunavut
  • Opera singer Deantha Edmunds Ramsay of Hopedale, Nunatsiavut
  • Drum dancer Piita Irniq of Naujaaq, Nunavut
  • Drum dancers and singers Tooma Laisa, Sandi Vincent, Celina Kalluk, Alexia Galloway Alainga, Minnie Akeeagok, Mary Itorcheak, Mia Maurice and Sylvia Cloutier, of Iqaluit, Nunavut
  • Qulliq lighter Nancy Aupaluktuk of Baker Lake, Nunavut
  • Qulliq lighter Micheline Amaaq, with singers Monica Ittusardjuat and Madeleine Ivalu and storyteller Alexina Kublu

“Inuit invited Pope Francis to visit our homeland, and on July 29 we are welcoming him to our home, to the place we have inhabited since time immemorial. This is a meaningful visit for Inuit, who have experienced lasting pain and suffering, and who remain welcoming and open to the possibility for true reconciliation,” said President Obed.

Schedule of Events

3:50 pm               Arrival of Pope Francis to Iqaluit
Iqaluit International Airport (no public access)

4:00 pm               Inuit Cultural Performance
In front of Nakasuk School (open to the public)

4:15 pm               Invitation-only encounter with Pope Francis, with personal testimonies shared and witnessed by survivors and intergenerational survivors
Nakasuk School Gymnasium (no public access)

5:00 pm               Inuit Cultural Performance with formal remarks delivered by Pope Francis
In front of Nakasuk School (open to the public)

6:15 pm               Departure of Pope Francis from Canada
Iqaluit International Airport (no public access)

For further details regarding the Papal Visit, including information about media access, please visit www.papalvisit.ca

Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami
media@itk.ca; 613-292-4482


July 25, 2022


Catholic Church

Métis Nation–Saskatchewan Representatives and Delegation to Join in Events with the Vatican in Edmonton, Maskwacis, and Lac Ste. Anne

NationTalk: The Métis Nation–Saskatchewan welcomes Pope Francis to Canada and hopes this trip will represent another step forward on the shared path of reconciliation for Métis Survivors of the residential school system.

For the MN–S, the arrival of the Pope on Canadian soil represents another chance for the world to learn the history of residential schools from the Métis perspective, which has largely been ignored or forgotten. And it is yet another opportunity for the Pope to do right by the Survivors.

“During the visit to the Vatican this past March, Métis Survivors and Elders were able to share their personal stories of survival and resiliency with the Pope. We hope these stories will be reflected in the Pope’s apology here in Canada,” stated Vice President of the MN–S, Michelle LeClair.

For too long, the truth of the residential school experience for Métis children has been largely ignored. Survivors and families from schools, such as the Île-à-la-Crosse and Timber Bay residential schools, were denied the Indian Residential School Settlements and apologies that other Survivors have received.

A delegation of over 300 Elders, Survivors, families, as well as survivors of intergenerational trauma will be among the delegation attending events in Edmonton, Maskwacis, and Lac Ste. Anne.

“We understand that all Survivors are on their own personal journeys toward healing. While some welcome the Pope’s visit, this trip brings up complicated feelings for others,” explained LeClair. “As the Métis government in Saskatchewan, we respect the views of all our Survivors and citizens and will be there for them as we work towards healing.”

The Métis Nation–Saskatchewan provides crisis support to Métis in Saskatchewan, including residential school Survivors and their families, toll-free at 1-877-767-7572.

Further background information on Île-à-la-Crosse Residential School is here.

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About Métis Nation–Saskatchewan

Métis Nation–Saskatchewan (MN–S) is the recognized government of the Métis Nation in Saskatchewan. MN–S is built on a foundation of Métis identity, culture, values, and language. MN–S works to advance Métis rights and recognition. MN–S represents the political, socioeconomic, cultural, and educational interests of more than 80,000 Métis in the province through an elected representative system at local, regional, and provincial levels.

For media inquiries:
Rena Montgomerie
MN–S Senior Communications Officer
r.montgomerie@mns.work or 306-250-1092


July 25, 2022


Catholic Church

Nishnawbe Ask Nation Survivors to Attend Events in Edmonton, Quebec City during Papal Visit this Week

NationTalk: EDMONTON, AB: Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) Deputy Grand Chief Anna Betty Achneepineskum will accompany delegations of Indian Residential School Survivors during the Apostolic Journey of His Holiness Pope Francis to Canada this week.

“Survivors and the families of those we have lost through the Residential School system will face a wide range of emotions this week, and we acknowledge their strength and courage to make this journey to meet with His Holiness. We also acknowledge the Survivors who chose to remain home during this difficult time. We pray for all Survivors that this will be a significant moment in their healing journey, no matter where they may be in their journey,” said Deputy Grand Chief Anna Betty Achneepineskum.

Achneepineskum will attend events in Edmonton and Quebec City with Survivors from across NAN territory. Some members of the delegation attended the notorious St. Anne’s Indian Residential School. St. Anne’s was run by the Oblate Catholic nuns in Fort Albany First Nation on the remote James Bay coast.

“Everyone responsible for the Indian Residential School system must accept responsibility for their role to the generations of harm done to our members and communities that continues to this day. Everyone must take the concrete action required if they truly speak truth in the words they say. The events of this week will not be an end. Survivors want justice, which some have fought for for years. We will be there for them to compel the Catholic Church, other religious institutions, and the Government of Canada to admit the truth and accept their responsibilities so we can move forward together in a good way,” said Achneepineskum.

A Papal apology is one of the 94 recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Final Report.

IRS Survivors, their families, and anyone requiring emotional support or assistance can contact:

  • IRS Survivors Society at 1-800-721-0066 (toll-free)
  • IRS Crisis Line at 1-866-925-4419
  • NAN Hope 1-844-NAN-HOPE (626-4673)

For more information please contact:
Michael Heintzman,
Director of Communications
Cell: (807) 621-2790
mheintzman@nan.ca


July 25, 2022


Catholic Church, Fed. Govt.

The AFNQL asks that the Catholic Church, as an institution represented by Pope Francis, make an official apology while on their ancestral territories

NationTalk: WENDAKE, QC – As the visit of Pope Francis to Canada begins, the Assembly of First Nations Québec-Labrador (AFNQL) is questioning the intentions of Bishop Raymond Poisson, President of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB), who told the Le Devoir on July 23, 2022, that “the apology has already been made [at the Vatican]. He added that the Canadian delegation to Rome last April “was the place where the Pope could listen with intimacy, humility and human warmth to the testimonies of survivors” and that the trip to Canada is “another step.”

These remarks were made just days before the meeting that survivors had been waiting for the past thirty years. It is important to recall that the Catholic Church remains the only congregation that has not yet made a direct apology to the survivors to contribute to their individual healing, and the collective healing of Indigenous peoples, for the harm suffered for over a century under the residential school system.

For the AFNQL, the visit to Canada is an opportunity for the Catholic Church, as an institution, to offer a real apology and to allow all those who need to hear it to begin their healing process with the respect they deserve. Thousands of people will travel to Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré in the next few days in the hope of receiving the Pope’s apology in person. Both the Indigenous people’s delegation received at the Vatican last April and the survivors insist on the importance of an apology to be delivered on their ancestral territories, in their presence.

“Indigenous communities are not travelling hundreds or even thousands of kilometres to attend a celebration. They will do so to receive an apology for the physical, psychological and spiritual abuse they have suffered over generations. The visit will be a failure if the survivors, who have had only a few weeks to organize their journey to Québec City, do not hear the apology from Pope Francis himself,” says AFNQL Chief Ghislain Picard.

“We welcome the efforts of Pope Francis to make this trip a priority. Only the survivors can accept the apology and decide to forgive. This will define whether this visit will make it into the history books or not,” said Grand Chief Mandy Gull-Masty of the Cree Nation Government.

About the AFNQL

The Assembly of First Nations Quebec-Labrador is the regional political organization that brings together the 43 First Nations Chiefs of Quebec and Labrador. www.apnql.com/en

For further information: Frédérique Lorrain, TACT, 450 702-0339, florrain@tactconseil.ca


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