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Opinion The Catholic Church can do more to address crimes against Indigenous Peoples

Emily Riddle: The Pope's visit to Canada was to deliver an apology for the Catholic Church's involvement in residential schools. She says the Catholic church will not lead our healing, but that doesn't mean they don't have a responsibility. The Catholic Church owes us reparations and ongoing solidarity if they are serious about the apology delivered by the Pope, Riddle says. Riddle is part of the first generation in her family to not be sent to residential schools or imprisoned by the child welfare system, but today there are more Indigenous children in child welfare than there ever were in residential school. The last residential school closed in 1996, so this is not a long-gone history, she says, and we are still grappling as families and communities with the trauma.

The Catholic Church should start by paying the full $25 million they committed to the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement of 2006. Many children did not survive residential schools. Last summer 215 unmarked graves were identified at the Kamloops residential school through ground penetrating radar. Non-Indigenous people in Canada must help us battle against this denialism.