Prince Charles’ acknowledgment of the “suffering” of Canada’s indigenous people during his visit to the country is an important step, say many Aboriginal officials, who are now calling on the monarchy to issue an “apology”.
• Read also: Boarding Schools: Anglican Church Leader Apologizes
• Read also: ‘Apologies don’t erase what happened,’ says one residential school survivor.
Prince Charles said on Thursday in Yellowknife (Northwest Territories) Prince Charles in a speech that concluded his three – visit to Canada.
After stops in St John’s in Newfoundland (east) and Ottawa, the American couple wrapped up their trip Thursday in northwest Canada as Prince Charles returned to his “especially touching meetings with Aboriginal boarding school survivors who bravely recounted their experiences”.
“We need to hear the truth about the experiences of the indigenous people and we need to work to better understand their pain and suffering,” he added.
For the head of the National Council of the Métis, Cassidy Caron, it is an “important step”. “It means a lot to us to see Prince Charles and his family want to hear and hear about the realities of Aboriginal peoples,” she added.
For her part, Rosanne Archibald, the national president of the Assembly of First Nations, made it clear that she found the prince “extremely sympathetic.”
But she added that she still hoped to get an apology “not only in the name of the Anglican Church for what happened in these institutions, but also for the failures in the relationship between the Crown and the First Nations people.”
The visit comes a year after Canada’s discovery of the first graves of unknown children on the site of former Aboriginal residential schools, causing a scandal and exposing the country’s colonial history.
Between the end of the 19th century and the 1980s, about 150,000 Aboriginal children were forcibly recruited into more than 130 boarding schools across the country, where they were cut off from their families, language, and culture.
Thousands never came back. Authorities estimate their number between 4,000 and 6,000. In 2015, a national commission of inquiry called the system a “cultural genocide.”
Pope Francis, who already made his apology in April before a delegation of Indigenous Canadian representatives, will visit the country at the end of July to renew it.
“Alcohol scholar. Twitter lover. Zombieaholic. Hipster-friendly coffee fanatic.”