Vatican Visit by Indigenous and Metis Groups Postponed

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ope Francis leads the Mass on Christmas Eve in St. Peter's Basilica amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic at the Vatican December 24, 2020. Vincenzo Pinto/?Pool via REUTERS
Pope Francis leads the Mass on Christmas Eve in St. Peter's Basilica amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic at the Vatican December 24, 2020. Vincenzo Pinto/?Pool via REUTERS

Thunder Bay – INDIGENOUS – Following discussions with the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) and the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK), the Métis National Council (MNC) have jointly decided to postpone the planned visit to the Vatican due to increasing public health concerns regarding the new Omicron COVID-19 variant.

The health and safety of our Elders, knowledge keepers, and communities is our number one priority,” said MNC President Cassidy Caron. “With the Omicron variant rapidly making its way across the world, we are choosing to do our part to prevent its spread and keep our people safe.”

A joint statement from the AFN, ITK, MNC and the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) made an important note that the delegation will be rescheduled to the earliest opportunity in 2022. When health and safety protocols allow, the MNC looks forward to completing this trip to the Vatican and meeting with Pope Francis on these important issues.

“The MNC remains firmly committed to bringing an inclusive and representative voice to the Vatican, through its Official Delegation, to elevate the diverse stories and experiences of the Métis Nation, to the greatest extent possible, including the ongoing intergenerational effects of colonization and Canada’s Residential School System on the Métis People,” said Caron. “For our Elders and all those who never returned home, we will continue to seek the justice our people, across the Homeland, deserve.”