- By Darren Thompson
Pope Francis was gifted a traditional headdress by Chief Wilton Littlechild after delivering an apology for the role the Catholic Church played in Canada’s residential schools. Pope Francis wore the headdress briefly and did not speak while wearing it. It’s the first public apology by the leader of the Catholic Church.
"I am deeply sorry. Sorry for the ways in which, regrettably, many Christians supported the colonizing mentality of the powers that oppressed the indigenous peoples. I am sorry. I ask forgiveness," he said.
Many took their responses to social media to one of the most significant and iconic Indigenous cultural honors, the gifting of a headdress.
Joe Horse Capture, Vice President of Native Collections of Native American History and Culture at the Autry Museum tweeted, “I have so much to say about this, and all of it negative. I am practicing ‘If you can't say anything positive, don't say anything at all’ mantra. But I'll be honest, it's difficult! #WTF.”
Russ Diabo, Kahnawake Mohawk, Indigenous Policy Analyst, Editor and Publisher of the First Nations Strategic Bulletin said on Twitter, “What we witnessed today was pageantry leading two facile statements by Pope and putting a headdress on him is the Catholic Church and Canada collaborating in creating a mythology for a shared ‘Reconciliation’ agenda narrated by prominent federal collaborators/residential school survivors!”
An unknown Twitter profile named Nicoló said, “get this headdress of the head of The Holy Father.”
Rod Mickleburgh, former China correspondent for Globe and Mail, author of two award-winning books, said of the Pope wearing a headdress, “Cheers and applause from the crowd, as the Pope gets a headdress.”
Kristina Wong, finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Drama, said, “This is a long overdue apology to indigenous people but did the Pope really have to wear the full on the Indian headdress to do this?”
Christian Big Eagle said of the Pope’s visit, “Logging off. As an Indigenous person I'm triggered by all the news about the Pope. I saw someone give him a headdress and it just made so angry. A headdress has to be earned. The Pope is head of an organization that raped and murdered Indigenous children.”
More Stories Like ThisNative News Weekly (December 4, 2022): D.C. Briefs
White House Tribal Summit, Day Two: Biden Administration Commits to Tribal Health and Justice Programs
San Manuel Band of Mission Indians Surprises Native Nonprofits with $1M in Donations on #GivingTuesday
Biden Affirms Commitment to Tribal Nations, Announces New Initiatives at White House Tribal Nations Summit
PHOTOS: The White House Tribal Nations Summit
Do you appreciate a Native perspective on the news?
For the past decade-plus, we’ve covered the important Indigenous stories that are often overlooked by other media. From the protests at Standing Rock and the toppling of colonizer statues during the racial equity protests, to the ongoing epidemic of Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women (MMIW) and the past-due reckoning related to assimilation, cultural genocide and Indian Boarding Schools, we have been there to provide a Native perspective and elevate Native voices.
Our news is free for everyone to read, but it is not free to produce. That’s why we’re asking you to make a donation this month to help support our efforts. Any contribution — big or small — helps us remain a force for change in Indian Country and continue telling the stories that are so often ignored, erased or overlooked. Most often, our donors make a one-time gift of $25 or more, while many choose to make a recurring monthly donation of $5 or $10. Whatever you can do, it helps fund our Indigenous-led newsroom and our ability to cover Native news.
Donate to Native News Online today and support independent Indigenous journalism. Thank you.