Nishnawbe Aski Nation

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April 18, 2018


THUNDER BAY, ON: Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler supports a motion that will be introduced in the House of Commons today calling for Canadian Catholic bishops to request that the Pope to apologize for the Catholic Church’s role in the Indian Residential School system.

“I encourage Catholic bishops to accept this responsibility and request that Pope Francis apologize for the Church’s role in the suffering inflicted on generations of our people,” said Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler. “The support of all parties for the Pontiff to apologize for the harm done to generations of Indigenous children would send a strong statement about Canada’s commitment to reconciliation. Confronting the legacy of the Residential School system is not a partisan issue, and we acknowledge Charlie Angus and Romeo Saganash for giving Parliament the opportunity to support this motion.”

The motion calls on the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops to:

  • invite Pope Francis to Canada to apologize on behalf of the Catholic Church for its role in the Indian Residential School system;
  • fulfill the Church’s financial obligations to raise $25 million for Indigenous healing under the IRS Settlement Agreement; and
  • make a consistent and sustained effort to provide relevant documents to survivors.

Survivors of the notorious St. Anne’s Residential School and supporters will rally today on Parliament Hill with Senator Murray Sinclair, who led the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. A press conference will be held at 1:30 p.m.

A papal apology is one of the 94 recommendations from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

In a March 27, 2018, letter the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops stated that Pope Francis has not shied away from acknowledging injustices faced by Indigenous Peoples but felt he could not personally respond.

For more information please contact: Michael Heintzman, Director of Communications – Nishnawbe Aski Nation (807) 625-4965 or cell (807) 621-2790 or by email 

News release