Here’s how Indigenous youth in Thunder Bay, Ontario. feel the Pope’s arrival in Canada

A number of Aboriginal youth from Thunder Bay, Ontario. saying that an apology from the Pope will mean little to them without concrete action to help Indigenous peoples heal from intergenerational trauma.

« It doesn’t do justice or help us, » Melissa Fox said of an apology Pope Francis is expected to deliver next week as part of a Canadian tour aimed at reconciliation with Indigenous peoples.

The Pope is expected to arrive in Canada on Sunday, for a tour that will take him to Edmonton, Quebec and Iqaluit.

This follows his apology earlier this spring, for the actions church members played in the residential school system.

Fox, along with other Indigenous members of the Regional Multicultural Youth Council, a grassroots youth resource center in Thunder Bay, expressed skepticism about the realization of the papal visit on what they want to see: a real change for Indigenous families impacted by the legacy of residential schools.

RMYC youth also prepared a statement for CBC expressing their views on the visit, addressed to Pope Francis.

“They only issue a public apology because of the media coverage of the unmarked graves at the boarding schools on Turtle Island. The last boarding school closed in 1996. Why apologize so many years later? It is too late to recognize it. the bare minimum and it is too late to do the bare minimum,” one First Nations youth wrote to RMYC.

Young people said they wanted to see action to help communities and families with apologies, and without action to change things, apologies mean nothing and reparations do not help healing.

They also said that because of acts of colonialism and residential schools, they too are dealing with intergenerational trauma.

Eternity Neekan, left, and Teonna McKay, right, say the pope’s apology won’t do much. (Jasmine Kabatay/CBC)

Young people said many Indigenous people struggle with addiction and isolation, or know someone who struggles with addiction and isolation, and called the government’s inadequate reparations a « killer tactic, » even though it’s not may not be the intention.

“They should provide/give us an abundance of resources and safe spaces, food security and clean water on Turtle Island,” they wrote.

Teonna McKay said the country has enough resources to help families and young people today, and Canadians and the country have no excuse to ignore the problem in the future.

« I see a lot of people outside of the Indigenous race complaining about the representation of my people, such as homelessness, addictions, mental illness, and the inability to create healthy lifestyles and relationships. However, there there’s more to the story, the side that was hidden with the money and the ego. To be born indigenous means to be born into grief, pain and unhealthy examples of life, » McKay said.

McKay says the blindness of people to the intergenerational trauma affecting Indigenous people has been deadly.

“Not having serious conversations about the history of the Catholic Church and how they tried everything to assimilate us, the indigenous people, will be dangerous moving forward,” McKay said.

« This new generation is filled with sacred and powerful Indigenous youth and we will no longer be silenced, we will continue to rise up and speak our truth and the effects that come with it. »

Other youth council members also said they would like to see more effort from the Catholic Church, as well as the Canadian government, to address the harm done, for example, by providing resources to organizations that provide support at the community level.

« You personally have not experienced the harm, trauma and generational trauma that many young people still face today. How will this apology help? For closure? Further action is needed to help many communities and families that have been affected, » Eternity said. Neek.

« Not just buying your way out of this genocide you imposed on our people. »

A National Residential School Crisis Line has been established to provide support to residential school survivors and others affected. People can access emotional and crisis referral services by calling the 24-hour national crisis hotline: 1-866-925-4419.

Support is also available for anyone affected by their Indian or Federal Day School experience. People can access mental health counseling and crisis intervention immediately at the Hope for Wellness Helpline by calling 1-855-242-3310 or online at


Back to top button