Statement on Native American National Boarding School Healing Issues Regarding the Pope’s Apology Regarding the Church’s Role in Indian Residential Schools

On Friday, the National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition (NABS) released a statement on Pope Francis’ apology for the role of the Roman Catholic Church in the massive abuse and mistreatment of Indigenous children at residential schools run by the church.

In a statement released to the media, NABS said it stands in solidarity with its First Nations, Métis and Inuit relatives who traveled to Rome this week for audiences with Pope Francis to speak about the horrors of the residential school system of the Canada. The Roman Catholic Church has been the perpetrator of systematic cultural genocide committed in Canada and the United States, as well as around the world, according to NABS, whose mission is to lead the pursuit of understanding and resolution of the ongoing trauma created by the Indian boarding school policy in the United States.

Never miss the biggest stories and breaking news from Indian Country. Sign up to receive our reports straight to your inbox every weekday morning.

NABS released the following statement:

“Today, Pope Francis issued an apology on behalf of the Roman Catholic Church, an action that had long been sought by survivors and communities affected by Canadian residential schools. For those who have requested this apology, we let us join you in recognizing this historic moment that is so long overdue.

“As many have stated, we know this is only a first step. We also know that an apology alone will never right the wrongs done to our people through the residential and boarding school systems in Canada and the United States, respectively.The Catholic Church must also comply with the demands of delegates, including Pope Francis traveling to Canada to apologize to survivors and their families, the repatriation of artifacts in the collections of the Vatican Museums and the opening of the Vatican Archives to scholars to search for documents related to residential schools Delegates also called on Pope Francis to revoke a papal bull from 1493, which led to the doctrine of discovery and the theft of the Indigenous lands around the world We know that the Catholic Church still benefits from the ownership of the lands and goods acquired by these colonial decrees.

“We believe that the Roman Catholic Church and other religious denominations involved in the operation of these institutions of assimilation must now look to the atrocities committed in the United States during the era of Indian residential school policy. Recognize the evil in one country without taking similar, measurable action in another country continues to perpetuate evil against Native Americans, Alaska Natives, and other Native residential school survivors and their descendants.

“We call on the Roman Catholic Church, its associated religious orders, and other religious organizations that operated these institutions of assimilation to make all boarding school and mission records openly available and freely accessible to any Tribal Nation, Tribal Citizen, Survivor or descendant of boarding school, or a Native American-run organization seeking to review, digitize, or retrieve these records.We call on religious institutions to approve the bill currently in Congress for the United States to establish a Truth and Healing Commission on the Policies of Indian Residential Schools in the United States (S. 2907 and HR 5444). The Roman Catholic Church must also revoke the Doctrine of Discovery,” said Deborah Parker, CEO of NABS and a citizen of the Tulalip Tribes.

“We look forward to hearing a response and further details from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops on their efforts in the United States to right the wrongs committed here.

“We know there is a lot of work to be done on this long journey towards truth, justice and healing. We will continue to advocate for Indigenous peoples to lead this healing and we will not rest until we bring our children home.

More stories like this

READ Pope Francis’ apology to First Nations delegation on residential schools in Canada
Pope Francis apologizes to First Nations for Catholic Church’s role in residential school abuse
Notah Begay (Navajo) first Native American named Junior Presidents Cup captain
As hotel bans Native Americans, Standing Rock calls for Justice Department intervention

Do you enjoy an Indigenous perspective on the news?

For the past decade and more, we’ve covered important Indigenous stories that are often overlooked by other media. From the protests at Standing Rock and the toppling of colonizer statues during the racial equity protests, to the ongoing epidemic of Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women (MMIW) and delinquent accounts related to assimilation, cultural genocide and at Indian Residential Schools, we were there to provide an Indigenous perspective and elevate Indigenous voices.

Our short stories are free to read for everyone, but they are not free to produce. That’s why we’re asking you to donate this month to support our efforts. Any contribution – large or small – helps us to remain a force for change in Indian Country and to continue to tell the stories that are so often ignored, erased or overlooked.

Donate to Native News Online today and support independent Indigenous journalism. Thank you.

About the Author

Native News Online Staff

Author: Native News Online StaffE-mail: This email address is protected from spam. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.