Nishnawbe Aski Nation Delegation to Meet with Pope Francis

NAN Deputy Grand Chief Anna Betty Achneepineskum

THUNDER BAY – INDIGENOUS – Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) Deputy Grand Chief Anna Betty Achneepineskum will accompany delegations of Indian Residential School Survivors during the Apostolic Journey of His Holiness Pope Francis to Canada this week.

“Survivors and the families of those we have lost through the Residential School system will face a wide range of emotions this week, and we acknowledge their strength and courage to make this journey to meet with His Holiness. We also acknowledge the Survivors who chose to remain home during this difficult time. We pray for all Survivors that this will be a significant moment in their healing journey, no matter where they may be in their journey,” said Deputy Grand Chief Anna Betty Achneepineskum.

Achneepineskum will attend events in Edmonton and Quebec City with Survivors from across NAN territory. Some members of the delegation attended the notorious St. Anne’s Indian Residential School. St. Anne’s was run by the Oblate Catholic nuns in Fort Albany First Nation on the remote James Bay coast.

“Everyone responsible for the Indian Residential School system must accept responsibility for their role to the generations of harm done to our members and communities that continues to this day. Everyone must take the concrete action required if they truly speak truth in the words they say. The events of this week will not be an end. Survivors want justice, which some have fought for for years. We will be there for them to compel the Catholic Church, other religious institutions, and the Government of Canada to admit the truth and accept their responsibilities so we can move forward together in a good way,” said Achneepineskum.

A Papal apology is one of the 94 recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Final Report.

IRS Survivors, their families, and anyone requiring emotional support or assistance can contact:

  • IRS Survivors Society at 1-800-721-0066 (toll-free)
  • IRS Crisis Line at 1-866-925-4419
  • NAN Hope 1-844-NAN-HOPE (626-4673)
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