Pope Francis Apology: A Step on the Path of Reconciliation

Message of solidarity from PSAC North REVP Lorraine Rousseau:  

Thousands of Indigenous people gathered at Maskwacis, Alberta, to hear the long-awaited apology from Pope Francis. Like many, across this land, Canada, I watched the live coverage earlier today. This, long-awaited, apology is a phenomenal step on the path of reconciliation, decolonization, and justice, but brought memories that are traumatizing and painful. Pope Francis will stop in Quebec and Iqaluit. My heart goes out to all survivors of residential schools and their families.  

At PSAC North, we recognize that while the Pope’s apology for generations of abuse and cultural suppression is important and brings peace to many of the survivors, we’re also aware that today and the next few days open wounds that continue to cause sufferings and traumas. At work, schools, and beyond, let’s hold the space for Indigenous peoples, and walk on the path of reconciliation and decolonization. I, on behalf of PSAC North, want to extend solidarity to all survivors and those affected in the North, and across this land, Canada.  

A national Indian Residential School Crisis Line has been set up to provide support for former students and those affected. People can access emotional and crisis referral services by calling the 24-hour national crisis line: 1-866-925-4419. 

Mental health counselling and crisis support is also available 24 hours a day, seven days a week through the Hope for Wellness hotline at 1-855-242-3310 or by online chat at www.hopeforwellness.ca.