Indigenous tell pope of abuses at Canada residential schools

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Indigenous leaders from Canada and survivors of the country’s notorious residential schools for Indigenous children are meeting this week with Pope Francis.

The first delegation from the Metis Nation told him Monday of the abuses they suffered at the hands of Catholic priests and school workers. They are hoping to secure a papal apology and a commitment from the church to reconcile and repair the harm done.

The meetings are part of the Canadian church and government’s efforts to respond to Indigenous demands for justice after the discovery of hundreds of unmarked graves outside some schools.

Cassidy Caron, president of the Metis National Council, said after the papal audience that "it is never too late to do the right thing."

In interviews with The Associated Press as they arrived in Rome on Sunday, Indigenous leaders expressed hope that Francis would indeed apologize, though they said their key aim this week is to tell the pope the stories of their people and the abuses they suffered.