We Are All Treaty People

OTC supports call for Papal visit to Saskatchewan

  • Published - 09/05/2022
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  • Posted By - OTC
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The Office of the Treaty Commissioner supports the call by the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations and Muskowekwan First Nation to the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops to arrange for the July 2022 Papal visit to include the Muskowekwan Indian Residential School.

As the last standing residential school in Saskatchewan, it’s important that the head of the Catholic church sees where abuses took place, to truly begin to understand the long-standing impacts of the school system.

“While a visit by the Pope to Canada to visit Indigenous communities fulfils a promise made to the delegation that visited in early 2022, it is not complete without a visit to Saskatchewan, the province with one of the highest numbers of Indian Residential Schools in the country. The Muskowekwan Indian Residential School is a reminder of the abuses against our people, and must be witnessed and the true history understood, for reconciliation to be possible,” said Mary Culbertson, Treaty Commissioner of Saskatchewan.

“Along with witnessing the impacts, we call on the Catholic church to make records available that residential school survivors, their families and their communities are so desperately seeking.”

During an event at the school to make this call to action on Monday, FSIN Chief Bobby Cameron said they have invited the papal delegation to the province. "We had told them, you come to our region, our traditional lands, where there's a large standing school here in Muskowekwan … where it means something for the people."

The event also featured an opening prayer from Joan Manitopyes, honour song from Grey Buffalo, statements from Chief Jamie Wolfe, Culbertson, Bishop Donald Bolen, and Councillor Vanessa Wolfe. Survivors also shared their words including Roland Desjarlais, Elaine Severight, Leon Wolfe Sr., and Marie-Anne Day Walker-Pelletier.

“I call on not only the Holy See but the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops to use their influence to have the Holy Father attend the Muskowekwan Residential School which still stands as our Canadian stark reminder of the genocide the government and the church worked in partnership together to erase our Indigenous peoples,” Day Walker-Pelletier said.

The Yorkton Tribal Council residential school support workers also attended the event.

If you are a residential school survivor or have been impacted by the residential school system and need help, you can contact the 24-hour Indian Residential Schools Crisis Line at 1-866-925-4419, or the Indian Residential School Survivors Society toll free line at 1-800-721-0066.