Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is demanding that the Pope apologizes for residential schools on Canadian soil after 751 unmark graves were found at Marieval Residential School. Trudeau previously said the Pope should apologize but has upped his tone after the second discovery of unmarked graves at a former residential school.
"I have spoken personally directly with His Holiness Pope Francis to press upon him how important it is not just that he makes an apology but that he makes an apology to Indigenous Canadians on Canadian soil," Trudeau said Friday in Ottawa. The Catholic Church has also recently agreed to release all remaining records related to residential schools after the latest discovery.
"I know that the Catholic Church leadership is looking and very actively engaged in what next steps can be taken," Trudeau continued. "I recognize these findings only deepen the pain that families, survivors and all Indigenous peoples and communities are already feeling, and that they reaffirm a truth that they have long known," Trudeau said in a statement, according to the CBC.
As investigations are being conducted and planned in various places in the country, this new discovery at the site of the former Marieval Residential School, about two hours drive east of Regina. According to the National Post, the investigation is being conducted by the Cowessess First Nation, and is ongoing. "This was a crime against humanity, an assault on First Nations," said Cowessess Chief Cadmus Delorme. "We will not stop until we find all the bodies."
Trudeau concluded his statement by saying, "The hurt and the trauma that you feel is Canada’s responsibility to bear, and the government will continue to provide Indigenous communities across the country with the funding and resources they need to bring these terrible wrongs to light. While we cannot bring back those who were lost, we can — and we will — tell the truth of these injustices, and we will forever honour their memory."
This comes as there are growing calls from activists in Canada to "cancel Canada Day." Cities across the country including Victoria, B.C. and Churchill, Manitoba have already put the celebrations on hold and the list grows by the day.