‘I didn’t get a response’: Residential school survivor gets apology from Catholic Church years later
It was a historic and emotional day for survivors of the residential school system in Canada.
Many have been waiting for an apology for years as they heal from the trauma and intergenerational effects of the horrific institution.
One survivor from Ottawa lived through one of the worst residential schools in all of Canada.
“The treatment of myself and other classmates was just horrific. There was no need for it,” said Evelyn Korkmaz, who is a survivor of St. Anne’s Residential School in Fort Albany.
Korkmaz was taken to St. Anne’s at 10 years old and stayed for four years.
In 2019, the Ottawa resident travelled to Rome, Italy to demand an apology from the Pope for the Catholic Church’s involvement in Canada’s dark history.
“I didn’t get a response,” she said. “I also asked him in the same press conference to release our school documents. These documents would also reveal the how, the why and the where our children are buried in these school grounds across Canada.”
That apology came on Friday, three years later.
“It’s a mention of wrong doing on the church’s part,” said Korkmaz. “I’m looking forward to him coming to Canada on July 26 this year to apologize on Indigenous land.”
“That apology, come here and say it. Come here and stand before the people that suffered,” said Mike Metatawabin, who is also a survivor of St. Anne’s residential school.
Ottawa’s Aboriginal Coalition is also calling for the Catholic Church to release the school documents.
“We all know actions speak louder than words. We are still waiting for the church to act in good faith in fulfilling its obligations under the 2006 Indian residential school settlement agreement,” said Stephanie Mikki Adams, of the Ottawa Aboriginal Coalition.
Korkmaz says survivors are still wanting compensation for the loss of language, culture, and spiritual belief, which was stripped of them at the schools.