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Should the Pope visit Kamloops and apologize to First Nations members for the Catholic Church's role in residential schools when he comes to Canada in July?

Poll: Papal visit

It will be a “missed opportunity” for Pope Francis to come to Canada and not visit Kamloops, according to T’kemlups Chief Rosanne Casimir.

On Friday, the Vatican announced the Pope would be making his way to Canada in July, but his itinerary does not include a stop in B.C.

Casimir said while she is appreciative of the Pope's decision to come to Canada, she is disappointed he won’t be visiting Tk'emlúps te Secwepemc.

“While we understand the vastness of Canada and the need the make to make the trip to Canada manageable for him, it is really unfortunate that he will not have the opportunity to come to the former Kamloops Indian Residential School,” Casimir said.

“This, I do see as a missed opportunity to come to Tk'emlúps ground zero, and hear directly from the survivors, the intergenerational survivors and offer more words of apology, retribution, and reconciliation.”

She said the Tk'emlúps generations of survivors and intergenerational survivors need more from the Pope.

“They [survivors] need to witness it true, meaningful apology from the highest level from the pope himself,” Casimir said.

“My hope is for justice and reconciliation, so that First Nations across Canada can find a way to work with the Catholic Church, so that we can truly walk on the healing path together for our children, and future generations.”

The Kamloops Indian Residential School was the site of a discovery last year of more than 200 potential unmarked graves. The announcement of the discovery set off a national conversation on reconciliation that is still ongoing.

Casimir was part of a First Nations delegation that visited the Vatican in March. At the meeting, she personally invited the pontiff to visit Tk'emlups.

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