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Sask. residential school survivors await apology from the Pope
Madina Azizi, CTV Regina
Published Tuesday, May 30, 2017 6:48PM CST
Wesley Keewatin was taken to a residential school in Lebret, Sask. at the age of seven.
For a decade, he lived through horrific nights of abuse. Keewatin still shivers when recalling his childhood.
"Things went on at night and things like that started to happen to me,” said Keewatin.
“I tried to figure this out because I thought, OK everybody does this like it’s normal but… it started getting worse."
Keewatin remembers that upon seeking help of a staff member about the abuse, he was told to just pray.
However, despite the trauma, Keewatin saluted those who were good and fair to other students.
"All of them weren’t like that you know. Some of them were very, very good to the children. We just only had the wrong ones that were very abusive,” Keewatin said.
Experiences like Keewatin's are the reason why Prime Minister Justin Trudeau asked the Pope to issue an apology to survivors for the role the Catholic Church played in residential schools.
Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations Chief Bobby Cameron says the apology is important for survivors moving forward.
"To hear the apology coming directly from the pope it would be symbolic, it would be meaningful and, in a sense, it would be a way for our residential school survivors to continue that healing journey," Cameron said.
Keewatin says he will continue to remain hopeful for the Pope to apologize so the country can move together in reconciliation.
"It’s just a healthier way to move on you know because yes, we all make mistakes because we are human beings and then what I was taught was to forgive, and through forgiveness, your way, your road, will become more clear,” said Keewatin.
The Pope has not yet issued a statement addressing the prime minister's request.