‘Work to be done’: 1 year after residential schools apology, Vatican rejects Doctrine of Discovery
WARNING: This article deals with disturbing subject matter that may be upsetting and triggering for some readers. Discretion is recommended.
This time last year, Meti historian and educator Mitchell Case stepped out of the grounds of St. Peter’s Basilica, one of the holiest Catholic churches in the world, just after meeting Pope Francis.
At a press conference televised around the world, Case wore beadwork of his own design and, with tears in his eyes, praised the bravery and tenacity of the Meti boarding school survivors.
In many ways, over the years, they were never “asked to say anything” about the horrors they endured or the trauma that followed.
“I think the last year has been really empowering for Indigenous peoples,” Case told Global News in an interview Thursday.
“Dedicated and dedicated survivors from Indigenous communities across Canada have made this happen. I think we have something to take from it. It is a power that can be achieved when
Vatican formally abandons discovery doctrine after decades of indigenous demands
On Thursday, the Vatican announced it had formally disavowed the doctrine of discovery, a legal framework based on a 15th-century papal bull that encouraged early Christian explorers to conquer and exile non-Christian indigenous peoples. and gave permission to enslave.
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Retracting this doctrine was one of the calls of a historic Indigenous delegation to Rome last spring to urge the Catholic Church to redeem its role in Canada’s disastrous boarding school system. .
This week’s update marks almost exactly one year since Pope Francis unexpectedly apologized for the serious and lasting harm caused by some members of the Clergy who helped carry out the assimilation project.
His apology garnered mixed reactions from members of the delegation who asked for it at the time, and from survivors who have asked for more over the decades.
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For Manitoba’s Long Plain First Nation Elder Ernie Daniels, the Vatican’s rejection of doctrine is evidence that the Catholic Church has not yet crossed the line from symbolic to concrete action.
He is happy that the Holy See has acknowledged the devastating effects of the Pope’s bulls, but his investment in indigenous peoples still cannot match his investment in protecting his own priests and nuns from harm. He said he was disappointed that he hadn’t.
“It will land,” said Knowledgekeeper and former chief Daniels in an interview on Thursday.
“It is good to make a statement, but there is much work to be done in terms of behavior change, attitude change, law change, policy change by the various governments of the world and the corporate world.Like the legal community… Words are cheap.
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During his lifetime, Daniels was forced to attend four boarding schools, which he called “seminaries,” at Portage La Prairie, Fort Alexander, Sandy Bay, and Otterburn. His experience there “wasn’t great,” he said briefly, but he described himself as “resilient.”
“We internalized the pain and hurt we went through.
“I didn’t let it destroy me, but it destroyed my language and my family life. We weren’t taught to be parents, so we were taught to love.” because I couldn’t.”
As Canadians process the latest developments on the doctrine of discovery, Daniels said he wanted to thank survivors who did not live to read the Vatican’s statement.
His mind also says he thinks of the missing children who never returned from boarding school, whose bodies are suspected to have been buried on former school grounds across the country.
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Le Estcwéy̓ took the life of Kúkpi7 Rosanne Casimir almost two years ago from the moment Tk’emlúps te Secwe̓pemc uncovered over 200 suspicious burials by the former Kamloops Indian Residential School.
The world changed when her country shared its findings on May 27, 2021, and in the months that followed, indigenous peoples across the country announced similar discoveries from ground-penetrating radar sweeps.
By the end of the year, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Canada confirmed that a delegation of indigenous peoples would meet Pope Francis at the Vatican, announced $30 million in support for healing and reconciliation programs, and offered a “for boarding school”. expressed deep remorse.”
Pope Francis also visited Canada last summer on a pilgrimage of reconciliation, after which he called boarding schools “genocide.”
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Casimir, who also visited Rome last spring, said the Vatican’s rejection of dogma had been “awaited for a very long time” and its “ripple effect” must spread to all levels of government and people. said.
“It will be very interesting to see how the federal government will act and react, and its role in denouncing doctrine and what it entails,” she told Global News.
“We need true solidarity and unity on all levels to do the right thing.”
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The bishops’ conference did not respond to a request for comment by Thursday’s deadline.
With federal support, the Catholic Church operated nearly three-quarters of Canada’s boarding schools and displaced more than 150,000 Indigenous children from their homes between the 1830s and the mid-1990s. Countless people were subjected to physical, sexual and psychological violence by priests and nuns.
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Many children were also starving in scientific experiments on malnutrition.
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While many have applauded Pope Francis’ atonement efforts last year, some indigenous survivors and advocates believe that the Pope’s and the Vatican’s statements offer true accountability for the church’s coordinating role in boarding schools. suggests that it is missing.
thursday statement It points to “governmental authorities” as promoters of the “coercive assimilation policy,” without acknowledging the institutional part of the Catholic Church itself. It was not part of the Church’s teachings, but did not do enough to “respect the equal dignity and rights of indigenous peoples.”
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“In no uncertain terms, the Church’s Magisterium upholds respect for all human beings,” wrote the Holy Sea Press Office.
“Thus, the Catholic Church rejects notions that deny the inherent human rights of indigenous peoples, including what has come to be known as the legal and political ‘discovery doctrine’.”
Although this statement did not provide evidence that the three papal charters in question were themselves formally revoked, it cited a later charter of 1537 to show that indigenous peoples were entitled to their liberty and possession of property. I reconfirmed that I must not be deprived of
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Manitoba Indigenous Council Area Mayor Cindy Woodhouse said she would love to see Pope Francis speak about the doctrine of discovery when he has fully recovered from the infection he was recently hospitalized with.
Wodehouse, a day school survivor, called Thursday’s news “a step in the right direction” and called for more “frank” conversations in the days and weeks to come.
After participating in both the delegation to Rome and the subsequent papal visit in Canada, she said, “I believe Pope Francis has the will to speak the truth in a more direct, more defensive way. .
“I think there is a lot of pressure on him from the various regressive forces in the Vatican. Without a full and frank acknowledgment of the truth of the Church’s role in colonialism, it will be difficult to move forward… But we must try and work together. Removing some of that racism is the first step.”
When Case was in Rome last spring, he beaded a moccasin gifted to Pope Francis on behalf of the Méti survivors, elders, leaders and youth who formed part of the delegation.
Thursday’s news may not be all he hoped for, but the Region 4 Regional Councilor in Métis Nation, Ontario, said that boarding school survivors and Indigenous leaders have been on board for decades. He said it was worth celebrating as a triumph that was won.
“It’s not yet, but it could be the beginning of a philosophical change in Western society,” Case said, showing off a new beaded vest he’s still finishing.
“There is a fundamental power imbalance between the European and Christian powers and the indigenous peoples. Conversations about cultural foundations and their relationship to indigenous peoples and indigenous lands may begin.”
The Indian Residential School Crisis Line (1-800-721-0066) is available 24 hours a day to anyone experiencing pain or distress as a result of their experience at a residential school.
The Hope for Wellness Help Line provides culturally appropriate counseling and crisis intervention to all Indigenous people experiencing trauma, pain, strong emotions and painful memories. You can contact us anytime at toll-free 1-855-242-3310.