Apologizing isn't enough, they argue.
Many Indigenous advocacy groups have responded critically to the apology given yesterday by Pope Francis. Montreal-area organization Resilience Montreal joined in with specific comments around reparations and homelessness. The self-described "wellness centre" supports unhoused people in the city – especially those who are Indigenous.
The organization's press release, posted on Instagram, argues that an apology, although it represents "a step toward healing for some survivors," ultimately doesn’t do enough to address the "deep intergenerational trauma" still faced daily by many residential school survivors.
Although the pope’s apology acknowledged more work is needed for true reconciliation, he did not address the question of financial reparations, which is something Resilience Montreal sees as a glaring oversight.
"If churches genuinely believe in reconciliation," they wrote, "they will direct funds towards projects like Resilience Montreal, which welcomes those deemed 'too damaged' to be granted [...] basic dignity."
The centre also highlighted that Indigenous people experience homelessness at rates far exceeding those for non-Indigenous people. Indigenous people are 27 times more likely to experience homelessness than any other demographic, according to a count by the city of Montreal.
"After an apology, we need the community to come together in reconciliation to offer more resources, advocacy, and justice," said Nakuset, who is the executive director of the Native Women’s Shelter of Montreal and co-founder of Resilience Montreal.
Resilience's Executive Director David Chapman added that healing "must never be divorced from truth, accountability and the sacrifice of making amends."
To donate to Resilience Montreal, visit resiliencemontreal.com/donate.
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