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Archbishop of Canterbury to meet residential school survivors in Saskatchewan

Click to play video: 'Archbishop of Canterbury to meet Saskatchewan residential school survivors'
Archbishop of Canterbury to meet Saskatchewan residential school survivors
On Saturday the Archbishop of Canterbury is scheduled to meet with residential school survivors in Saskatchewan. There is no confirmation whether the leader of the Anglican Church will formally apologize - but this could be a historic step towards reconciliation. Nathaniel Dove has more on what this visit means and speaks to a residential school survivor who says an apology isn't enough. – Apr 30, 2022

On Saturday, the Archbishop of Canterbury is scheduled to meet with residential school survivors in Saskatchewan.

There is no confirmation whether the leader of the Anglican church will formally apologize but it could be a historic step towards reconciliation.

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Tom Roberts is a survivor of Prince Albert residential school, one of several run by the Anglican church.

“We spoke our native language. We got beaten. We were dislocated from our families,” Roberts said.

“We hear about dysfunctional families on Indian reserves…What happened when we went to school? We were children. We came out of school. We’re adults, we got married and have children.

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“We weren’t taught any parenting skills at the residential school, so we raised our children the way we were raised at residential school.”

Reverend Justin Welby is the Archbishop of Canterbury and leader of the Anglican Church. He will visit James Smith Cree Nation on Saturday, not far from Prince Albert, Sask. Roberts is scheduled to meet him.

Read more: Survivor wants Timber Bay Children’s School recognized as residential school

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In a statement, the Archbishop said “a significant purpose of this visit is therefore to repent and atone.“

While it remains unclear whether that will include an official apology, Roberts says an apology isn’t enough.

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“Build either a healing lodge or a healing center in each reserve right across Canada where people can go and deal with their trauma that they endured at the residential school,” Roberts said.

In April, Indigenous leaders visited Rome to receive the Pope’s apology.

Roberts says he felt left out, telling Global News the Anglican Church still has a lot to make up for.

Click to play video: 'Pope felt ‘strong shame’ for church’s role in residential schools, MMF president says'
Pope felt ‘strong shame’ for church’s role in residential schools, MMF president says

Coming to Canada is a start, as is an apology, if one comes.

Roberts says he wants the Archbishop to visit the church at his hometown, Stanley Mission, in northern Saskatchewan — the same town that declared a crisis eight years ago after several children died by suicide.

“Those kids that committed suicide did not even speak their own language. They’ve lost their language. They’ve lost their identity,” Roberts said.

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Roberts wants the Archbishop to visit every reserve, saying it could help him understand the horrors inflicted on children in the name of God.

The Indian Residential Schools Crisis Line (1-866-925-4419) is available 24 hours a day for anyone experiencing pain or distress as a result of their residential school experience.

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