Prince Charles praised for acknowledging Canadian Indigenous suffering

Prince Charles has acknowledged the suffering of Canada’s Indigenous peoples during an official visit on behalf of the queen, earning praise on Friday from Indigenous leaders.

But they would also like an official apology from the Crown.

ALSO READ: Future king: Prince Charles stands-in for the Queen and heads to Canada

PRINCE CHARLES ON THE ABUSES SUFFERED BY INDIGENOUS PEOPLE

The heir to the throne raised the historical abuses suffered by Indigenous peoples at residential schools across Canada, and its lingering impacts, on the last leg of a three-day Canadian tour with his wife Camilla.

He told a crowd in Yellowknife in the Northwest Territories Thursday evening before departing for the United Kingdom that his discussions with former students and their families in recent days had been “deeply moving.”

“On behalf of my wife and myself, I want to acknowledge their suffering and to say how much our hearts go out to them and their families,” he said.

“We must listen to the truth of the lived experiences of Indigenous peoples. We must work to understand their pain and suffering.”

Prince Charles

The Prince of Wales has visited the Dettah Ice Road to see first hand the impact of climate change on the region. The Ice Road connects Yellowknife and the small community of Dettah in the winter through the Great Slave Lake. pic.twitter.com/h3t4uoCyTZ

— Lizzie Robinson (@LizzieITV) May 19, 2022

PRINCE CHARLES PRAISED FOR LISTENING AND LEARNING

In a statement, Metis National Council president Cassidy Caron said:

“It meant a great deal that Prince Charles and his family wanted to listen and learn, to hear Indigenous peoples’ truths in the ways that we remember them.”

“It’s an important step forward,” she said.

Cassidy Caron

HOPES FOR AN APOLOGY FROM PRINCE CHARLES AND THE CROWN

Assembly of First Nations National Chief RoseAnne Archibald also told reporters in Ottawa this week that she’d found the prince to be “very empathetic” and keen to learn about this dark chapter in Canada’s history.

But she added that she still hoped for an apology.

“Not only on behalf of the Anglican Church for what happened in those institutions, but also for the failures of the relationship between the Crown and First Nations people.”

Ottawa has apologized for this suffering. So, too, did Pope Francis to an Indigenous delegation last month for the Catholic Church’s role in the schools scandal, and is to repeat it during a visit to Canada in July.

#ICYMI: Indigenous groups in Canada have appealed directly to Prince Charles for an apology from the Queen for colonial atrocities committed against the nation’s indigenous school children.https://t.co/PH30F6YdQq pic.twitter.com/izZHr90gaG

— Nadine White (@Nadine_Writes) May 19, 2022

PRINCE CHARLES WANTS TO RECONCILE AND STRIVE TO DO BETTER

After stops in Saint Johns, Newfoundland and the capital Ottawa, the royals concluded their tour Thursday in Canada’s far north where they visited the Dene First Nation community.

Charles had previously commented on the need to:

“Find new ways to come to terms with the darker and more difficult aspects of the past. Acknowledging, reconciling and striving to do better, it is a process that starts with listening.”

Prince Charles

Thousands of Indigenous children are believed to have died of neglect and malnutrition at the former state schools run by churches, and the discovery over the past year of at least 1 300 unmarked graves at these sites has prompted widespread soul-searching.

A truth and reconciliation commission concluded in 2015 that the failed government policy of forced assimilation amounted to “cultural genocide.”

Ceremonial Circle, Yellowknife

“In marking The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee by celebrating the spirit of people and service – our great hope was that we might listen to, and learn from Canadians directly.  This hope has been more than fulfilled.”

– HRHhttps://t.co/xXrmTXXZGO pic.twitter.com/QIennauJTg

— The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall (@ClarenceHouse) May 20, 2022

© Agence France-Presse

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