'I'm very disappointed in the Pope,' Daniel Paul says of pontiff's failure to apologize for Catholic church's role
HALIFAX -- There is a call for Pope Francis to issue an apology after the discovery of the bodies of 215 Indigenous children at a former residential school in British Columbia.
The discovery has many now calling for surveys of other residential schools across the country.
Theresa Grineault was overcome with emotion as she stood before a memorial dedicated to 215 Indigenous children whose remains were discovered at an unmarked burial site at a former residential school in Kamloops, B.C.
"Those kids are never going to come home," Grineault said. "Never."
The Indian residential school settlement agreement identified 139 residential schools across Canada, including one in Shubenacadie, N.S. In total, it's thought about 150,000 First Nations, Inuit and Metis children attended these schools.
Doreen Bernard is a survivor. She's been touched by the outpouring of support, but she wants the federal government to look into the possibility of more graves at sites other than Kamloops.
"We talk about truth and reconciliation yet the truth hasn't come out," Bernard said. "It is still being uncovered."
Archbishop Brian Dunn of the Archdiocese of Halifax-Yarmouth released a statement saying the discovery of the unmarked burial site in Kamloops is heartbreaking and vows to work toward reconciliation, healing and peace.
"Acknowledging and bringing to light this dark chapter of our Catholic and Canadian history is difficult but necessary in order to be able to do and be better," Dunn wrote.
Daniel Paul doesn't doubt the sincerity of Dunn's statement, but says the real apology needs to come from the Vatican.
"Their main purpose was to take the Indian out of the Indian," Paul said. "I'm very disappointed in the Pope, that he doesn't come forward at this point in time and do what the other Christian denominations have done and make a full apology."
It would be a small step forward in what will be a long healing process.