Jul 24, 2022

By Steve Kee

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Pope Francis begins his visit to Canada today, aimed at reconciliation with Indigenous people for the Catholic Church’s role in residential schools.

After touching down in Edmonton, the Pope will make his first significant stop later today — the former Ermineskin Indian Residential School in the community of Maskwacis.

An estimated 150-thousand Indigenous children were forced to attend residential schools in Canada, 60 per cent of which were run by the Catholic Church, and were rampant with neglect and physical and sexual abuse.

The Pope will have a team of translators, dedicated to making sure no words are lost for those receiving the apology.

Henry Pitawanakwat is on that team and will translate the Pope’s words into the Ojibwa language.

Even though his mother was a residential school survivor, he says it’s important to not to let his own feelings get in the way as he translates the Pope’s words into a language children were once punished for using.

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