Indigenous delegation to Rome missing off-reserve Indigenous perspective
March 28, 2022 (OTTAWA) – This week, the Canadian Indigenous delegation to Rome comprised of Indigenous leaders, Elders, knowledge keepers, residential school survivors, and youth begin meetings with Pope Francis. Having been excluded from the formation of the delegation, the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples (CAP) urges officials to consider all Indigenous Peoples in Canada in their discussions of reconciliation with the Holy Father, including off-reserve status and non-status Indians, Métis and Southern Inuit peoples who make up over 80% of Indigenous peoples in Canada and are missing representation on this very important trip.
The three National Indigenous Organizations selected by the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops to help organize this delegation (the Assembly of First Nations, Métis National Council, and Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami) do not represent all First Nations, Métis, and Inuit in Canada, including CAP’s communities.
“The residential school system had a profound impact on CAP’s communities and is responsible for lasting detrimental impacts felt by generations of our people,” said CAP National Chief Elmer St. Pierre. “It is disappointing to see this delegation move forward without representation from off-reserve status and non-status Indians, Métis and Southern Inuit peoples from coast to coast.”
Many residential school survivors lost status as a result of attending residential school or through other assimilative policies, resulting in our communities being further marginalized and left out of important discussions affecting their well-being.
“True reconciliation cannot happen unless it includes all Indigenous Peoples,” added St. Pierre.
CAP has been in communication with the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops on this issue and we look forward to working together to ensure all Indigenous peoples are considered in the important work ahead on the road to reconciliation, including preparations for the Holy Father’s pilgrimage of healing and reconciliation to Canada later this year.
Director of Communications
The Congress of Aboriginal Peoples is the national voice representing the interests of Métis, status and non-status Indians, and Southern Inuit Indigenous People living off-reserve. Today, over 80% of Indigenous people live off-reserve.