Pope prays at cemetery for indigenous people in Canada


He arrived in a wheelchair at Ermineskin Cree Nation Cemetery, where he prayed in front of the crosses.

Later, he was escorted by indigenous leaders to a ceremony fraught with symbolism 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.

The 85-year-old pope, who is still using a wheelchair and cane because of a fractured knee, is making the week-long apology tour of Canada to fulfill a promise he made to indigenous delegations that visited him earlier this year at the Vatican, where he made the initial apology.

Between 1881 and 1996 more than 150,000 indigenous children were separated from their families and brought to residential schools. Many children were starved, beaten and sexually abused in a system that Canada's Truth and Reconciliation Commission called "cultural genocide."

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