The Canadian Prime minister, Justin Trudeau, apologized this Friday officially to the indigenous people of the province of Newfoundland and Labrador for the forced detention of thousands of children in school residences for three decades.
Between 1949 and 1979, thousands of indigenous children in the province, located on the Atlantic coast of Canada, were taken from their families and interned in five school residences, where many suffered sexual and physical abuses.
The objective of these school residences, established by the authorities but managed by the International Association Grenfell (IGA), an organization that provides religious and medical services, was to eliminate language and culture Aboriginal population.
In a speech in Newfoundland and Labrador, Trudeau said that "this colonial form of thinking led to practices that caused great harm," and that in the five school residences "they were made to feel irrelevant and inferior." "They were taught to be ashamed of who they were and where they came from."
"Many suffered negligence and were not fed, clothed or housed properly." Others suffered physical, psychological and sexual abuses. They were all deprived of the love and care of their parents, families and communities, the Canadian president added.
"To all of you, we are sorry," said Trudeau after testifying to hundreds of indigenous and survivors of residences who appeared "humbly" to "offer the former students long overdue apologies" ".
But the great chief of the Innu Nation, one of the indigenous groups affected by the internment in the school residences in Newfoundland and Labrador, Greg Rich, stated that his community did not accept the apology for being too limited.
"Our elders are not ready to accept an apology made only on a small part of our experience," said Rich in a statement.
"I really do not think that Canada is truly prepared to apologize to the Innu if it does not include the recognition of other damages suffered by our people." I am not convinced that Canada still understands what it has done to the Innu and what it continues to do, added the indigenous leader.
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