A First Nations leader has told the Prince of Wales that the Queen must apologise for the way indigenous people have been treated in Canada.
RoseAnne Archibald, national chief of the Assembly of First Nations, appealed directly to Prince Charles for an apology from the monarch during a reception in Ottawa where many leading figures from the country’s indigenous community were invited, along with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
The country is dealing with a national scandal stretching back decades that saw thousands of indigenous children die or be abused in the residential school system from the 19th century until as recently as the 1970s.
Last year, hundreds of human remains were discovered at former church-run schools.
Speaking about her conversation with the prince, Ms Archibald said: “I did respectfully request that Prince Charles convey a message to his mother, the Queen, to offer an apology on behalf of the Anglican Church.
“We did have Pope Francis offer an apology to survivors in Rome on behalf of Catholics that did wrong.
“So we’re asking the Queen to do the same – rather than just the Archbishop of Canterbury, we would like the Queen to do that apology.”
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She added: “I did make it clear that it was not a political request – it was a request that would help heal so many people that have gone through those institutions of assimilation and genocide.”
On Tuesday, Prince Charles used his main speech of the three-day tour to pay his respects to indigenous groups, saying “we must find new ways to come to terms with the darker and more difficult aspects of the past: acknowledging, reconciling and striving to do better”.
The palace have been keen to emphasise the prince’s desire to listen to the concerns of First Nations communities and learn.
Image: The royals pictured with Prime Minister Trudeau (left) during their tour. Pic: AP
In his speech, he added: “I know that our visit here this week comes at an important moment – with indigenous and non-indigenous peoples across Canada committing to reflect honestly and openly on the past and to forge a new relationship for the future.”
But Ms Archibald stressed that she wanted to hear more from the prince.
She said: “It’s a real missed opportunity if he doesn’t acknowledge that an apology is needed for the First Nations in Canada and I did feel a great deal of empathy from the prince, and he certainly had a level of understanding that I appreciated. So I’m hopeful that he does issue some kind of statement, that an apology is coming.”
She also presented Charles with statements from two indigenous leaders highlighting issues over land rights and claims that promises enshrined in treaties between their people and the Crown had not been honoured, and asking for their grievances to be addressed.
On the final day of the tour, Charles and Camilla are due to visit Yellowknife in the Northwest Territories, where they will see how the climate crisis and warming temperatures have caused a vital ice road to melt early, seriously impacting the indigenous Dettah community and their ability to drive to and connect with nearby towns.
Source : Sky News