Archbishop of Canterbury to visit James Smith Cree Nation communities

The visit to the tri-communities is scheduled for Saturday.

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The head of the Anglican Church is scheduled to visit James Smith Cree Nation, the Chakastaypasin Band of the Cree Nation and Peter Chapman Band this weekend to meet with residential school survivors.

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Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby is expected to visit the community on Saturday. The event at Bernard Constant Community School is to include story sharing by residential school survivors, said a media release issued by the Prince Albert Grand Council.

“A significant purpose of this visit is therefore to repent and atone for where our relationships and actions have done more harm than good — and to honour the sovereignty of Indigenous communities. The visit will be an opportunity to listen, to lament and to pray for justice, healing and transformation in the relationship between the Indigenous Peoples of Turtle Island and the Arctic, and the See of Canterbury and the Church of England,” Welby said in a provided statement.

Earlier this month, an Indigenous delegation visited the Vatican, when Pope Francis apologized for the church’s role in Canada’s residential school system.

In 1993, the Anglican Church of Canada issued an apology to residential school survivors, and in 2019 it apologized for cultural and spiritual harms toward Indigenous peoples.

It’s not clear from the statement if Welby will offer an apology.

His visit to Canada was first announced by the Anglican Church of Canada in February, with a scheduled visit to Prince Albert.

Last week, George Gordon First Nation announced the identification of 14 potential unmarked graves. The Anglican Church managed the former Gordon’s Indian Residential School from its founding in 1888 to 1946. It closed in 1996.

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