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Pope Francis visit to Treaty Six for all Survivors

The Confederacy of Treaty 6 First Nations is sharing details for Survivors of Residential Schools to attend functions planned for next week’s papal visit.

The leader of the Catholic Church will land in Edmonton on Sunday to begin a week-long visit to Canada where he is expected to expand on an apology for the church’s role in Residential Schools.

Pope Francis is expected to attend functions at Maskwacis, Commonwealth Stadium and a pilgrimage to Lac Ste Anne.

Confederacy of Treaty 6 First Nations Grand Chief George Arcand Jr. says while everyone is welcome they will need to register.

“It’s really important for people to know that there is going to be a requirement for tickets. So people can’t just get up in the morning and decide that they want to come there on Monday or Tuesday morning. They will need a ticket and approval to get in. There are also some logistics issues that people will have to scramble around. They will have to park and be bussed into the sites.”

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The Confederacy of Treaty 6 First Nations says anyone wishing to attend the events may connect to their respective National Indigenous Organization (NIO), Catholic diocese traveling with Survivors, or regional AFN representatives.

Additionally:

Maskwacis visit

The Maskwacis residential school site visit is planned for July 25th at 10 a.m.

The Papal visit in Maskwacis is a free, ticketed event intended for Elders, residential school Survivors, day school Survivors, intergenerational Survivors, Indigenous community members, their families, and those accompanying Survivors for support.

The venue is only accessible by park and ride or group charter, no personal vehicles or parking will be allowed on site. Plan to be at the park and ride early.

Open-air Mass at Commonwealth

The Mass is on July 26th at 10:15 a.m.

Edmonton Transportation Service will provide Park and Ride services between Commonwealth Stadium and a number of locations. Tickets to the mass will cover your fare between 7 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.

Lac Ste Anne Pilgrimage

The event begins July 26th at 5 p.m.

Access to the venue will be by park and ride, group charter, or pre-registered camping only – no personal vehicles or parking will be permitted.

Seating inside the Shrine area of Lac Ste Anne has been reserved, largely, for Survivors and Indigenous partners.

Those wishing to camp or attend the pilgrimage must register via lacsteannepilgrimage.ca.

The Commonwealth Mass will be livestreamed and broadcast at Lac Ste Anne. Organizers recommend choosing one location, either Commonwealth or Lac Ste. Anne due to traffic and logistical concerns.

Mental Health Support

The Government of Canada will provide mental health support for Indigenous Peoples
during the Papal visit. Indigenous mental wellness workers and cultural support providers
will be made available on-site.

Additional support includes:

  • The Hope for Wellness Help Line is available 24/7 in English and French, and upon request in Cree, Ojibway and Inuktitut. Trained counsellors are available by phone at 1-
    855-242-3310 or by visiting hopeforwellness.ca.
  • The National Residential School Crisis Line can be reached toll-free and is open 24/7 at 1-866-925-4419.
  • The Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Crisis Line provides toll-free support 24/7 at 1-844-413-6649.

Arcand speaks on the importance of having these supports noting that many of the Survivors are older adults. He says Health Canada and the provincial government have been pulling together resources and it is a challenge.

“We’ve got a few days yet and we hope we will be able to gather enough support and make sure that this event is truly an opportunity for the First Nations to hear the pope apologize.”

Off-site events

kihêw waciston (MacEwan University) is providing a community gathering space on July 25th and 26th. There will also be a Sacred Fire on July 26th at MacEwan University – open to everyone.

City of Edmonton support and social workers will be available on both days at MacEwan University, as well as the Indigenous Peoples Experience at Fort Edmonton Park, and
sites within the vicinity of Papal events.

More information can be found online for these events and the Pope Francis in Canada social media page.

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