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Pope Francis Apologizes to Canada’s Residential School Survivors

Pope Francis wears a traditional headdress that was gifted to him by indigenous leaders following his apology during his visit in Maskwacis, Canada, on July 25.

Pope Francis wears a traditional headdress that was gifted to him by indigenous leaders following his apology during his visit in Maskwacis, Canada, on July 25.

Photographer: Cole Burston/Getty Images

Pope Francis apologized to Canada’s Indigenous people for the Catholic Church’s role in running residential schools that tore children from their homes to assimilate them into Christianity. 

The pontiff paid his first visit Monday to the site of a former residential school in Maskwacis, Alberta, about 85 kilometers (53 miles) south of Edmonton, where he expressed “sorrow, indignation, and shame” on behalf of the church. He will spend the next five days visiting former residential school sites and meeting indigenous delegations, traveling to Quebec City and Iqaluit, Nunavut, in Canada’s far north.