Edmonton, Alberta, Aug 03, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Established in 1844, Lac Ste. Anne is a truly historic community within the Métis Nation Homeland. The first pilgrimage to Lac Ste. Anne took place in 1889 and has occurred annually during the week of Saint Anne’s Day. Métis travel from across the Homeland to attend. To the community members of Lac Ste. Anne, and Métis families these pilgrimage grounds are sacred and culturally significant.
We recognize that to some, the pontiff’s arrival in Canada and Lac Ste. Anne is welcome and are encouraged to see the Catholic Church begin to walk the healing path toward truth, justice, and reconciliation. While we recognize that many Survivors and Métis families find the pilgrimage healing, for others this is not always the case. It is important to recognize the diversity across the Métis Nation, including diversity in spirituality. The MNC supports and respects all those who are walking their unique paths and is committed to offering support to those who need it.
While the Pope’s visit to the community of Lac Ste. Anne will bring comfort and healing to some, this is not universal, and we stand in support of those who have expressed their rightful anger and pain brought about by this trip. As the Métis Nation is one nation of many stories, we will continue working closely to ensure that the voices and stories of Métis Survivors, families, and communities are heard throughout this healing journey.
“Today we were honoured to welcome Pope Francis to the pilgrimage at Lac Ste. Anne, a site that has long been held sacred to Métis, First Nations, and Catholic pilgrims alike. While we were happy to welcome His Holiness to this sacred land, we hope that this visit marks meaningful change for Métis Survivors and communities. Words and apologies are not enough. We hope that by feeling the spirit of the Métis, connected so deeply with a place so sacred to the Church, this will lead us all to true Reconciliation.”
Audrey Poitras, President, Métis Nation of Alberta
"If the apology from the Pope is what brings peace to Métis residential school Survivors, then it has served its purpose. We are hopeful that the investigation called for by the Pope will lead to the unlocking of all residential school records held by the Catholic church"
Melanie Omeniho, President, Les Femmes Michif Otipemisiwak
"The importance of Lac Ste. Anne to the Métis Nation cannot be understated. We are glad that Pope Francis, the Vatican, and the CCCB made the choice in visiting what is a culturally significant place of healing for many, and that this signals support for the Métis moving forward together in our journey of truth, reconciliation, justice, and healing."
Cassidy Caron, President, Métis National Council