The visit had been in the works since June 2021, following the discovery of what may be unmarked gravesites at the site of former residential schools.
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In addition to the apology, the Indigenous leaders plan to ask Pope Francis for the release of all records that relate to the residential schools, and for the return of any Indigenous items from Canada that the Vatican may possess in its archives.
‘Contrite Hearts’ and Concrete Action: Catholics React to the Legacy of Canada’s Residential Schools
Since 1991 individual Catholic bishops, other leaders and dioceses and organizations involved in the residential schools have been issuing apologies for the residential schools and have sought to make amends.
Of the 25 schools in Alberta, 16 were operated by either a Catholic diocese or Catholic religious order.
First Nations Leaders Announce More Than 160 Unmarked Graves Found at Former Catholic-Run Residential School
The Kuper Island Industrial School operated from 1890 until 1975 in British Columbia.