Canada’s Catholic bishops have issued a formal apology to the Indigenous community for the church’s role in the residential school system.
The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops apologized “unequivocally” and expressed “profound remorse” for the suffering experienced in the schools.
“We acknowledge the grave abuses that were committed by some members of our Catholic community; physical, psychological, emotional, spiritual, cultural, and sexual. We also sorrowfully acknowledge the historical and ongoing trauma and the legacy of suffering and challenges faced by Indigenous Peoples that continue to this day,” reads the statement.
In the letter, the bishops committed to providing records and documentation that would help identify those buried in unmarked graves.
READ MORE: 751 unmarked graves discovered at former residential school in Saskatchewan
Hundreds of graves have been located on properties where residential schools once stood. It is believed the victims were buried without their families ever being told of their deaths.
While the bishops hope the apology is a turning point in reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples, many leaders within the community say it must be backed up by meaningful action.