Message from the Governor General following Pope Francis’ apology to Indigenous delegation

April 1, 2022

OTTAWA, Ontario —This is a historic and emotional day for Indigenous peoples across Canada. I am grateful for the words of His Holiness Pope Francis, who took to heart what he heard this week. This was a meaningful apology we have waited a long time to hear.

Today, I am optimistic. Although the scars of residential schools remain, Indigenous peoples have renewed hope that healing is possible. Despite all we have suffered and all we have lost, we are still here. We are still strong.

The apology is one step on the road to reconciliation, but it is just that: one step. We must always strive to acknowledge the pain and the truth of our history. It’s about stories—my story, your story, our peoples’ stories. Hearing our truths will guide us on our path towards reconciliation.

This is a hopeful day, but it must be backed by action. I am pleased His Holiness has committed to visiting Canada to continue the reconciliation journey with Indigenous peoples on their own lands. And, as I have done throughout my life, I am ready to do the hard work, to hold difficult conversations, and to encourage wisdom and compassion.

In Inuktitut, we say ajuinnata—a promise to never give up, to persevere. Let us all raise our voices, across Canada, in the spirit of ajuinnata, to build understanding, respect and reconciliation.

Mary Simon

Media information:
Rideau Hall Press Office
343-573-7563
media@gg.ca

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