First Nations, Métis and Inuit Met Pope, Received Initial Apology for Residential School Abuses



The First Nations Health Authority (FNHA) and all of Canada watched the First Nations, Métis and Inuit delegation to the Vatican as they visited with the Pope with regard to the role of the Catholic Church in operating the residential school system in Canada and for the resulting physical, cultural, and sexual abuses that have been extensively documented. The findings of unmarked graves at Tk'emlúps te Secwe̓pemc, Williams Lake, and on other residential school grounds across BC has clearly created a compelling reality and an imperative for truth and for action. 

Last week, First Nations, Métis and Inuit representatives from across Canada received an initial apology and a commitment from the Pope to visit Canada potentially to provide an elaboration on First Nations territory. 

While First Nations survivors, families and leaders have very differing views on the Pope's apology and visit, FNHA will continue to focus on mental health and wellness in partnership with communities and organizations to provide mental health and traditional and cultural supports now and during the potentially challenging months to come. 

FNHA partners with numerous contribution agreement holders to provide mental health, emotional and cultural support services to First Nations communities and Nations. Our goal is to safely address a broad spectrum of wellness issues by providing appropriate and safe mental health, emotional and cultural supports: 

  • Emotional support services and activities to help First Nations individuals, families, communities, and nations to safely address a broad spectrum of mental health issues related to the impacts of these experiences.  
  • Cultural support services and activities are provided by elders or traditional healers through dialogue, prayers, traditional healing, ceremonies, or teachings.
  • Professional counselling services (administered through FNHA Health Benefits) are available as well as transportation assistance to travel to appointments. 

Our thoughts and prayers go out to all, particularly those who may be affected by the papal events last week.

Support Services for Mental Health and Cultural Supports in BC:

  • The following link brings you to FNHA's Indian Residential Schools Resolution Health Support Program contacts:
  • The KUU-US Crisis Line Society provides a 24-hour, province-wide Indigenous crisis line for Indigenous peoples in BC – Adults please call 250 723-4050. Children and youth please call 250 723-2040. Toll-free: 1 800 588-8717
  • First Nations and Inuit Hope for Wellness Help Line for Indigenous people across Canada: Phone toll-free at 1 855 242-3310 or chat online: https://www.hopefo​
  • The Métis Crisis Line for Métis people in BC, available 24 hours a day at 1 833 MétisBC  (1 833 638-4722)
  • Tsow-Tun-Le-Lum for Indigenous peoples in BC at 1 888 403-3123
  • Indian Residential School Survivors Society at 1 800 721-0066 or 604 985-4464
  • 24-Hour National Crisis Line for residential school survivors and others affected at 1 866 925-4419

Quick Facts:

  • 18 residential schools operated in BC.
  • The first one to open in 1863 was St. Mary's in Mission, which was also the last to close in 1984 after 121 years in operation.
  • In addition to residential schools, there were more than 100 day schools and three Indian hospitals in Prince Rupert, Nanaimo and Sardis.
Skip Navigation>About>News and Events>News>First Nations, Métis and Inuit Met Pope, Received Initial Apology for Residential School Abuses