On March 28, seven Inuit delegates including Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK) president Natan Obed met with Pope Francis at the Vatican, calling on the Catholic Church to take specific actions to advance reconciliation within Canada.

A formal apology from the Church to Inuit in Canada is one such action requested, as well as for the Church to work with police in bringing justice to survivors of residential schools.

In particular, ITK is calling for the Vatican to start pressuring France to bring in Catholic priest Johannes Rivoire to stand trial in Canada. Rivoire is accused of sexually abusing Inuit children in multiple Inuit communities across the North.

Also among the listed actions include the immediate payment of $25 million in financial restitution to residential school survivors as per the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement.

Obed said the Church has continued to act in bad faith by not “fulfilling its obligations under the 2006 Residential School Settlement Agreement, which obligates the Church to undertake specific actions to advance reconciliation.

“Lasting reconciliation between Inuit and the Church can only be achieved through substantive actions led and directed by Pope Francis.”

A livestream of the pope’s final meeting with all Inuit, First Nations and Metis delegates will be held on Friday, April 1 starting at 6 a.m. ET (12 p.m. Central European Standard Time).

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