Alberta, NWT Catholic bishops latest to apologize for residential schools

Catholic bishops in Alberta and the Northwest Territories have apologized for abuse that aboriginal children suffered in residential schools.

EDMONTON — Catholic bishops in Alberta and the Northwest Territories have apologized for abuse that aboriginal children suffered in residential schools.

Edmonton Archbishop Richard Smith said Monday the group is the last one in the country representing Catholic bishops to make a public offer of regret.

Others have issued formal apology letters as the Truth and Reconciliation Commission held events in their regions, he said. The commission is to hold its final national event in Edmonton next month.

“We are adding our voice to those of the Catholic bishops and leaders of religious communities across Canada,” Smith told several dozen junior high students at Edmonton’s Ben Calf Robe School.

“When people are hurt, you know it’s important to say you’re sorry.”

As president of the group, Smith apologized to those who experienced sexual and physical abuse at the schools, and expressed regret for separating children from their families and suppressing their culture and language.

Alberta was home to more residential schools than any other province, including 15 that were operated by Catholic dioceses or religious congregations. The federal government started embracing the schools as a form of aboriginal education in the 1880s. They began closing about 60 years later, although the last school, outside Regina, closed in 1996.

In 2009, Pope Benedict expressed his “sorrow” to a delegation from Canada’s Assembly of First Nations over the abuse in schools run by the church.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper apologized in the House of Commons a year earlier for the government’s role in developing the schools. By that time, leaders with the Anglican, Presbyterian and United churches and Missionary Oblates had apologized for the schools they operated.

The $60-million Truth and Reconciliation Commission is part of a landmark compensation deal between the federal government, the Crown and residential school survivors. It has visited hundreds of communities across the country, often hearing graphic details of trauma and abuse.

Just Posted

Child’s play at Westerner Days

Balloons bring out the child in everyone

‘Do Indians have property rights?’ Former Alberta chief’s land dispute in court

STANDOFF, Alta. — A dispute between two families over land on Canada’s… Continue reading

Missing female found near Sundre

Local rancher finds missing female

Buyers turn to letters to snag homes in Canada’s hot real estate markets

TORONTO — Monica Martins and her husband had been looking for a… Continue reading

WATCH: Gazebo groundbreaking in Waskasoo

Fifty per cent of the $100,000 project is funded by a provincial government grant

Second World War Two-era B-29 Superfortress named ‘Fifi’ lands for first-ever Canadian tour

MONTREAL — A rare Second World War-era bomber named “Fifi” has touched… Continue reading

Magnus Cort Nielsen wins Stage 15 of Tour de France

CARCASSONNE, France — Magnus Cort Nielsen of Denmark sprinted away from two… Continue reading

Ryan Reynolds teases ‘Deadpool 2’ extended cut at Comic-Con

SAN DIEGO — Ryan Reynolds has made a triumphant return to San… Continue reading

‘Wonder Woman,’ ‘Aquaman’ and ‘Shazam!” thrill Comic-Con

SAN DIEGO — Warner Bros. brought out all the stops Saturday at… Continue reading

All shell, no shock: Lobster prices strong, season picks up

PORTLAND, Maine — New England’s lobster industry faces big new challenges in… Continue reading

Woman killed in collision near Olds

A woman is dead after a collision west of Olds Saturday afternoon.… Continue reading

Evacuation numbers remain at nearly 1,000 as B.C. wildfires rage on

SUMMERLAND, B.C. — Officials in British Columbia’s Okanagan region hope that fire… Continue reading

Survivors recount deadly Missouri duck boat sinking

BRANSON, Mo. — “Grab the baby!” Those were the last words Tia… Continue reading

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month