Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called Prope Francis, the head of the Catholic Church, to come to Canada and apologize for the church’s role in the residential schools that were dedicated to Indigenous people, CBS News reported on Tuesday.
The prime minister’s speech came after unearthing two unmarked graves that contain hundreds of bodies under former residential schools.
He described, on Friday, in Ottawa that he told the pope after Cowessess First Nation announced finding 751 bodies at the former Marieval Residential School in Saskatchewan.
The Canadian official added: “I have spoken personally directly with His Holiness Pope Francis to press upon him how important it is not just that he makes an apology but that he makes an apology to Indigenous Canadians on Canadian soil.”
Trudeau added: “I know that the Catholic Church leadership is looking and very actively engaged in what next steps can be taken.”
The system of residential schools was started in 1831 and was ended in 1996. More than 150,000 Indigenous children were taken from their families and brought to those Catholic schools that were run by the federal government.
Those schools were one of the main contributors to the cultural genocide that targeted Indigenous Canadians.
After discovering the bodies of hundreds of people buried at the site of the country’s former residential schools, including 215 children’s bodies, thousands of Canadians mourned and paid tribute to the victims.