Healing Takes Time

Catholics involved in the reconciliation process over the Indian residential school system in Canada say continued understanding requires action. “It isn’t by making laws you are going to overcome racism,” said Archbishop Gerard Pettipas, president of 50 Catholic Entities, the legal body formed to respond to the litigation that led to the 2007 Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement. “Look at what’s continuing to happen in the United States with black Americans,” the archbishop, who leads the Archdiocese of Grouard-McLennan in Alberta, Canada, said. “You still have white cops killing black kids. A lot has to happen at the grass roots and for people to come to a conversion in their own hearts about the issues. That takes time.” The archbishop said the Truth and Reconciliation Commission members, who released their final report to the public on Dec. 15, also knew there was more work to do. The report built on an executive summary in June that referred to what happened to aboriginal Canadians in residential schools as “cultural genocide.”

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