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Canada's Catholic Bishops Are Apologizing For Their Role In The Residential School System

"We acknowledge the grave abuses that were committed."

Canada's Catholic Bishops Are Apologizing For Their Role In The Residential School System

The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) has issued an apology for the first time to the Indigenous communities who suffered under the residential school system.

"Along with those Catholic entities which were directly involved in the operation of the schools and which have already offered their own heartfelt apologies, we, the Catholic Bishops of Canada, express our profound remorse and apologize unequivocally," said a statement from CCCB on Friday, September 24.

The apology comes just days ahead of a new federal statutory holiday on September 30 called the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. The holiday was established to "commemorate the legacy of residential schools," Justin Trudeau previously said.

The discovery of unmarked mass graves at former residential schools earlier this year made headlines across the country and the world, with NDP leader Jagmeet Singh calling the situation "genocide." Perry Bellegarde, the former National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, said that the news was "absolutely tragic, but not surprising."

"We acknowledge the grave abuses that were committed by some members of our Catholic community; physical, psychological, emotional, spiritual, cultural, and sexual," the statement from CCCB said. "We also sorrowfully acknowledge the historical and ongoing trauma and the legacy of suffering and challenges faced by Indigenous Peoples that continue to this day."

"We commit ourselves to continue accompanying you, the First Nations, Métis and Inuit Peoples of this land. Standing in respect of your resiliency, strength and wisdom, we look forward to listening to and learning from you as we walk in solidarity."

Ontario Is Lighting Up Orange To Honour First National Day For Truth And Reconciliation

"It is vital that we commemorate the loss of generations who are no longer with us."

Ontario is turning orange on Thursday to commemorate the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.

Several provincial landmarks including Niagara Falls and the CN Tower will be lit bright orange tonight to honour the new holiday, with the falls shining for 15 minutes every hour, starting at 6:30 p.m.

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Trudeau Says September 30 Is A 'Day To Remember The Many Children Who Never Returned Home'

He spoke about the "painful and lasting impacts of residential schools in Canada."

This article contains graphic content that might not be suitable for some readers.

On September 30 — Canada's first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau issued a statement addressing the "painful and lasting impacts of residential schools in Canada."

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Doug Ford Says The Journey Of September 30 Needs To Happen 'Each & Every Day'

Today is the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.

Premier Doug Ford and Minister of Indigenous Affairs Greg Rickford released a statement on Thursday on the importance of Orange Shirt Day and the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.

"Today, people in Ontario and across Canada will wear orange shirts to remember and honour the many Indigenous children who were taken from their communities and families and forced to attend residential schools," reads the statement.

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On September 30 — Canada's first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation — the queen shared a message from England with Canadians.

"I join with all Canadians on this first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation to reflect on the painful history that Indigenous peoples endured in residential schools in Canada," the message reads. The queen went on to acknowledge "the work that remains to heal and to continue to build an inclusive society."

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