Archbishop Fred Hiltz, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, calls human rights violations against Canada’s aboriginal peoples “a blot on the soul of this country.”
Referring to the ongoing intergenerational impact of residential schools, Hiltz says the church needs to play a role in supporting initiatives that help heal aboriginal families.
“We were part of tearing families apart,” he told more than 200 aboriginal Anglicans attending the Seventh Sacred Circle, held Aug. 5 to 12 in Pinawa, Man. “We must be part of…helping them move to a place of health and happiness.”
One in four indigenous children lives in poverty compared with one in nine in the rest of Canada, Hiltz pointed out. Many native communities receive 25 per cent less in resources per person to support education than other Canadians, and the scarcity of fresh fruit and vegetables has led to health problems such as diabetes and heart disease.
Ted Quewezance, executive director of the Residential School Survivors’ Society, urged the church to focus on rebuilding families within their communities.-M.S.