Skip to main content

'A long time coming': Edmonton Catholics commit $3.2M to Indigenous reconciliation fund

Pope Francis arrives the Lac Ste. Anne pilgrimage site in Alberta, Canada, Tuesday, July 26, 2022. Pope Francis traveled to Canada to apologize to Indigenous peoples for the abuses committed by Catholic missionaries in the country's notorious residential schools. (AP Photo/Eric Gay) Pope Francis arrives the Lac Ste. Anne pilgrimage site in Alberta, Canada, Tuesday, July 26, 2022. Pope Francis traveled to Canada to apologize to Indigenous peoples for the abuses committed by Catholic missionaries in the country's notorious residential schools. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

The Archdiocese of Edmonton will spend $3.2 million on reconciliation initiatives with First Nations, Métis and Inuit people in the Alberta capital region.

The money is part of the Indigenous Reconciliation Fund, a national effort totalling $30 million over five years.

There are five pillars of the plan: healing and reconciliation, youth leadership, culture and language revitalization, education and community building, and dialogues for promoting Indigenous spirituality and culture.

Committee chair Cam Alexis says reconciliation with the church is long overdue.

He is a former Chief of the Alexis Nakota Sioux Nation and former Regional Chief with the Assembly of First Nations.

Alexis believes money can't change the past but initiatives like this can help create a better future.

"It was a long time coming. But you know what? The signal is that we need to move forward and there is some funding provided and that funding will help promote and perhaps offer some healing mechanisms for our people," he told CTV News Edmonton.

Last summer, Pope Francis travelled to Canada, and in Alberta delivered an apology to Indigenous people for the church's role in residential schools and the traumas experienced in them.

Francis followed that up in March by formally rejecting the "Doctrine of Discovery," stating it "did not adequately reflect the equal dignity and rights of Indigenous peoples."

That was a statement many Indigenous people were calling for and one an assistant professor from the Ermineskin Cree Nation called "a humongous symbolic victory."

An Indigenous-led committee has been assembled to award the $3.2 million.

Applications will be accepted for three months on the Catholic Archdiocese of Edmonton website.

With files from CTV News Edmonton's Brittany Ekelund

CTVNews.ca Top Stories

A look back at election day in Manitoba

Manitobans have cast their vote in a historic election. The CTV News Decision Desk has declared an NDP majority win, making NDP Leader and Premier-elect Wab Kinew the first First Nations premier in the province. Take a look at the election night in Manitoba.

Stay Connected