Anguished Cree song caps emotional Pope apology in Canada

STORY: EDITORS PLEASE NOTE: RESENDING TO CORRECT THE INTRO, AS THE VIDEO SHOWS THE ANCIENT CREE SONG 'OUR VILLAGE' PERFORMED TO THE MELODY OF THE CANADIAN NATIONAL ANTHEM. PREVIOUSLY, IT WAS REPORTED THAT THE SONG PERFORMED WAS THE CANADIAN NATIONAL ANTHEM IN THE CREE LANGUAGE.

The unscripted moment capped a fraught ceremony for thousands of residential school survivors who sat in somber silence as Francis said how "deeply sorry" he was for the Catholic church's role in Canada's abusive residential school system, calling their forced cultural assimilation a "deplorable evil" and "disastrous error."

It was a long-awaited apology on First Nations soil.

The pope spoke to about 2,000 people assembled around him in an open-air, circular auditorium while more watched on large screens from a distance. Many wept.

For more than a century, the residential school system forcibly separated more than 150,000 indigenous children from their families and subjected many to starvation, beatings and sexual abuse in what Canada's Truth and Reconciliation Commission called "cultural genocide."

After the pope spoke, Cree Chief Wilton Littlechild placed a feather headdress on the pontiff's head as the crowd cheered. Soon after, the indigenous woman, with fist raised, sang as the pope watched.

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