'The Church was unquestionably wrong': Vancouver Archbishop issues apology | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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'The Church was unquestionably wrong': Vancouver Archbishop issues apology

June 02, 2021 - 5:17 PM

Vancouver Archbishop J. Michael Miller issued an apology on Wednesday afternoon for the church's role in operating residential schools.

"I am writing to express my deep apology and profound condolences to the families and communities that have been devastated by this horrific news," he wrote.

The Kamloops Residential School was operated by the Roman Catholic Church since it was built in 1890 through to 1969, until the federal government took over the building to run it as a day school.

"The church was unquestionably wrong in implementing a government colonialist policy, which resulted in devastation for children, families and communities," he said in his statement.

Along with the apology, the archbishop made five commitments to First Nations communities, which includes transparency with all archives and records relating to residential schools.

"(We) strongly urge all other Catholic and government organizations to do the same," Miller said.

He said the church will offer mental health support and counselling for family members and loved ones of those buried at the former Kamloops Residential School.

Miller said they will offer technical and professional support to help in "whatever way they choose to honour, retrieve and remember their deceased children."

Miller says the church will "commit to supporting the same process and resources" to all First Nations that had Catholic-run residential schools within the historical boundaries Archdiocese of Vancouver.

"We will renew our efforts to listen to Indigenous Peoples, to hear from you how we can best walk with you along the path of justice," he said. "We recognize that there is so much work remains to be done, yet we hope... we can restore trust among us that will bring healing."

Miller's statement on Wednesday, June 2, comes after a shorter statement emailed to iNFOnews.ca on Friday.

"The pain that such news causes reminds us of our ongoing need to bring to light every tragic situation that occurred in residential schools run by the Church," Miller said on May 28. "The passage of time does not erase the suffering that touches the Indigenous communities affected, and we pledge to do whatever we can to heal that suffering."

Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc Chief, Kukpi7 Rosanne Casimir, could not be reached for comment by iNFOnews.ca in time for publication.

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