Canadian Martyrs Catholic Parish in Ottawa is a community entrusted to the care of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate. We wish to add our voices to those of the Oblate leadership in this shared expression of sorrow as news has reached us of the discovery of the 215 unmarked graves at the Kamloops Residential School. As parents and grandparents, as parishioners and clergy, we believe that solidarity with the First Nations People of Canada begins with our never ceasing to be sorry for what has happened in our names. We add our names, and our hearts, to those apologies which the Oblate leadership have extended to the Indigenous peoples of Canada.
From the Parish Pastoral Council and the Pastoral Team
Media Release and Apology from the Oblates
The Kamloops Indian Residential School was administered by the Oblates. OMI Lacombe Canada’s Provincial, Fr. Ken Thorson OMI, issued the following media release: Oblate Media-Release May 2021. Fr Ken writes: “The Oblates remain committed to humbly participating in ongoing efforts towards reconciliation and healing for our role in this painful part of our shared history.”
In 1991, the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate in Canada were the first among Catholic entities to issue an apology for both their part in residential schools, as well as for the role they played in cultural, ethnic, linguistic and religious imperialism. The 1991 statement recognized “centuries of systemic imperialism,” and the tragic impact of the assumed superiority and historical privilege of Christian Europeans. We are sharing the full 1991 statement here: Oblate Apology.
In 2014, Oblate Provincial Fr. Ken Forster OMI formally renewed this apology (AN APOLOGY TO THE FIRST NATIONS OF CANADA – March 29, 2014) and using language that referred explicitly to settler colonialism, he noted: “Through the first centuries of contact, the relationship of non-native to First Nations People was deeply wounded by the settlers’ attitude of cultural and religious superiority and the imposition of colonial power.”
APOLOGIES, STATEMENTS, AND NEWSPAPER ARTICLES
Oblate Apologies and Statements
Kamloops This Week – interview with Fr. Ken Thorson
Indian Residential School Settlement Agreement
United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) in Canada
Youtube link to the statement by Archbishop Damphousse on National Indigenous Day 2021 in support of reconciliation
Graveyards, Lack of Records
Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, Graveyards, Historical Background
Where are the Children Buried? Dr. Scott Hamilton, Anthropology, Lakehead University, Report for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (44 pages)
For Further Reading
The National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation (NCTR) is a place of learning and dialogue where the truths of Residential School Survivors, families and communities are honoured and kept safe for future generations.