Many of us have read the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s final report—or at least part of its almost 4,000 pages—and paid attention to the news as the TRC wrapped up its work last year.
And while the hard work towards reconciliation is ongoing, and will continue for many years to come, it’s important to look back and remember the steps taken to get us to where we are now.
These steps include formal apologies from churches in Canada for their parts in colonization and in the residential school system.
In 1993, the Anglican Church of Canada did just this, and offered an apology for the harm the church inflicted on Indigenous people through residential schools.
The apology was delivered by primate (chief bishop of archbishop of one of the churches) Michael Peers to the Anglican Church National Native Convocation in Minaki, Ontario on August 6, 1993.
“I have heard the voices that have spoken of pain and hurt experienced in the schools, and of the scars which endure to this day. I have felt shame and humiliation as I have heard of suffering inflicted by my people, and as I think of the part our church played in that suffering,” Peers said.
“I am sorry, more than I can say, that we were part of a system which took you and your children from home and family. I am sorry, more than I can say, that we tried to remake you in our image, taking from you your language and the signs of your identity,” he continued. “I am sorry, more than I can say, that in our schools so many were abused physically, sexually, culturally and emotionally. On behalf of the Anglican Church of Canada, I present our apology.”
The Anglican Church has posted the apology in English, French and a number of Indigenous languages on its website. Read the full apology in the language of your choice here.