Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has “humbly” apologized for abuse and cultural losses at residential schools in Newfoundland and Labrador.
Speaking at a ceremony with former pupils from Goose Bay, Trudeau surfaced on behalf of the government of Canada and Canadians to former pupils at five universities in the state.
He says their parents were told their children could be cared for and could be safe.
Trudeau says we now know that they were victims of a system of “colonial thinking” that caused “deep injury.”
He says for too long Canada has let the pupils carry their weight alone and not having an apology has been an impediment to healing and reconciliation.
The former pupils at five universities in the state were left out of a compensation package and national apology from 2008 by former prime minister Stephen Harper.
His Conservative government argued that Ottawa did not oversee those schools, but the Liberal government offered last year to repay a class-action suit for $50 million.
However, Innu leaders have been boycotting today’s event and won’t take the apology, saying Innu children suffered in other places besides residential schools.
The leaders also have issued a statement saying they met with members of their neighborhood on Thursday and received a very clear message.
“The response from members of our community has been quite emotional, it is clear that Innu require apologies for at least the expertise from the International Grenfell Association conduct residential school dormitories,” Grand Chief Gregory Rich stated in the statement.
“I’m not satisfied that Canada knows yet what it has done to Innu and exactly what it is still doing.”
The statement says Innu children were mistreated in Roman Catholic schools and in the houses of teachers and missionaries from the communities of Sheshatshiu and Davis Inlet. It said that hasn’t been realized by authorities.
“The truth of what occurred to the previous generations of Innu hasn’t been fully recorded and we can not cope with this in bits and pieces,” explained Chief Eugene Hart of the Sheshatshiu Innu First Nation.
The Canadian Press