Indigenous reactions mixed after US bishops’ apology: ‘They won’t ever forget’

(National Catholic Reporter. Katie Collins Scott).

“A deep sadness.”

That was the first emotion Jay, a member of the Gros Ventre Tribe, said he felt as he read an apology issued by the U.S. bishops for the Catholic Church’s mistreatment of Indigenous people. Jay attended the now-closed St. Paul Mission Grade School on the Fort Belknap Reservation in Montana, where he says he was sexually abused by a religious sister, often in front of a statue of Jesus, and by a priest in a remote location in the mountains. He was 11 years old. “I thought of those small little children, younger than me, at boarding schools miles from home,” said the 70-year-old, whose nickname is being used to protect his privacy. “It’s an awful thing.” His own horrors have not left his head or heart, he said. “I will never really get away from them. Not until I die.” Jay was among a number of Indigenous individuals, including survivors and tribal leaders, who spoke with NCR after the bishops issued a document acknowledging, in a circumscribed manner, the Catholic Church’s culpability, especially through church-run boarding schools, in the intergenerational trauma of Indigenous people.

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