– I go on a pilgrimage to do penance and healing, with the grace of God. I hope he can contribute to the path of reconciliation and healing that has already begun, the Pope said at the end of his Sunday prayer in the Vatican.
Last year, several unmarked graves were discovered around a former boarding school in British Columbia. Most of the remains were children.
according BBC there were approximately 150,000 children who attended these schools from 1863 to 1996 across Canada.
They were allegedly taken from their homes because of an orderg which was part of the authorities’ attempted forced assimilation.
A cultural genocide
In 2008, Prime Minister of Canada Stephen Harper apologizes to all who were forced to attend residential schools and a truth and reconciliation commission was appointed to investigate and respond to abuses.
In 2015, the commission presented its report and called what happened in the boarding schools “cultural genocide”.
According to commission chairman Murray Sinclair, children as young as 3 years old were taken from their parents and transported to school until several thousand kilometers away.
The commission also found that they were kept apart from their own family, language and culture. Many were reportedly physically and sexually assaulted by teachers and principals.
Several thousand people are thought to have died of disease, malnutrition and neglect. Last year, around 13,000 unmarked graves were discovered in boarding schools.
– Some are grateful, others think it is very important, especially if they are practicing Catholics. For some, that’s not good enough at all. They think it looks like theater, that you’re just doing it for show and it doesn’t really have any real effect, says Kisha Supernant, professor of anthropology at Swedish Radio.
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