ST. JOHN’S, N.L- An Indigenous leader says it’s time for Newfoundland and Labrador’s government to apologize for leaving Indigenous groups out of the province’s agreement with Canada when it joined the country in 1949.
Chief Mi’sel Joe of the Miawpukek First Nation says Pope Francis’s apology last week for abuses committed by members of the Roman Catholic Church at Canadian residential schools underscores the need for the province’s apology.
Joe said in an interview today the Mi’kmaq people of Newfoundland weren’t well represented in the Pope’s apology because it took so long for Canada to even recognize the First Nation in Newfoundland and Labrador.
The province’s terms of union with Canada in 1949 made no mention of its Indigenous populations, denying them federal recognition and access to services for decades.
The Miawpukek First Nation wasn’t federally recognized under the Indian Act until 1987.
Joe says Newfoundland and Labrador needs to apologize for the residential and day schools where Indigenous children suffered abuse and loss of culture, adding that the province should also apologize for leaving Indigenous populations out of the terms of union.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 5, 2022.