Gratitude and frustration in Canada after Pope apology

STORY: At a press conference, residential school survivor Evelyn Korkmaz, said she had been waiting 50 years for this apology but wished she could share it with those who had passed away.

"Unfortunately a lot of my family members, friends, classmates and members of my community who went to residential school were not able to hear it because they had passed on through suicide, alcohol addiction... and other substance abuse or whatnot because they could not endure or live with the trauma that they endured in these residential schools," she said.

Tony Alexis, Chief of Alexis Nakota Sinoux Nation, said the apology triggered an "opening of a wound".

"This wound that has been opened again, we can't just leave it like that, we really have to take the steps to make sure that we heal and recover our people," said Alexis.

Louis Bull Tribe Chief Desmond Bull used the moment to urge those who say "get over it" to survivors instead to "get with learning about our history, get with learning about our culture, our people, who we are," because "inter-generational trauma impacts every youth, every member and everyone who had a family who has a survivor of residential schools."

After the pope spoke in Maskwacis, Chief Wilton Littlechild placed a feather headdress on the pontiff's head. Francis stood from his chair and wore it for a few moments before a clapping crowd.

Elder and residential school survivor, Jon Crier, said the gesture was to honor a man as an "honorary chief and leader in a community," and "an honoring of the work that he has done."

Offering his apology near the site of two former schools in Maskwacis, Alberta, Francis said forced cultural assimilation was a "disastrous error" and called for a "serious" investigation of the schools to help survivors and descendants heal.

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