STORY: "I had pretty much empty feelings. I didn’t feel there was any passion of the speech being delivered," said Duke Peltier, Chief of Wiikwenkoong Unceded Territory.
Pope Francis told indigenous leaders on Friday, the last day of his Canadian visit that he was pained that Catholics had supported "oppressive and unjust policies" against them.
The 85-year-old pope met on Friday with an indigenous delegation at the Quebec archbishop's residence before he was due to leave for a brief stop in the Arctic territory of Nunavut, which Canada created in 1999 for the Inuit people.
He was referring to residential schools, where more than 150,000 indigenous children were separated from their families and brought to between 1870 and 1996. Religious groups, most of them Catholic, ran the schools for the governments of the times to implement a cultural assimilation policy.
The children were starved or beaten for speaking their native languages and many sexually abused in a system Canada's Truth and Reconciliation Commission called "cultural genocide."