Manitoba Métis elder concerned Pope's visit hasn't involved more Indigenous ceremony, women
'Our ceremonies and the things we do for healing and reconciliation … I didn't see that:' Dolorès Gosselin
A Métis elder from southeastern Manitoba believes Pope Francis hasn't done enough to include Indigenous traditions during his visit to Canada, sending the message that Catholic traditions are more important.
Dolorès Gosselin, who lives in Stuartburn, leads healing ceremonies and says she would have loved to have seen the Pope smudge, visit a teepee or take part in a healing circle.
Instead, she saw a few drummers and singers in the background while the Pope delivered his apology Monday for the role of some members of the Catholic Church in Canada's residential school system, and a large mass to commemorate the Feast of St. Anne on Tuesday.
"All our ceremonies and the things we do for healing and reconciliation — I did not see one of those things. It's all about the church. That's not how we reconcile," Gosselin told CBC News in an interview on Wednesday.
"This is not the Native way of doing things. So if you want to reconcile, you need at least … half and half — half of what the church does, half of what we do for our spirituality. I didn't see that."
In addition, Gosselin was shocked to see so few Indigenous women sitting around the Pope on the day of his apology in Alberta, especially because traditionally, women play a key role in Indigenous cultures.
"To think that a religious institution which preaches charity and acceptance in everything, they do not respect more than half the population of the world," she said.
"It's the Catholic Church show — nothing that belongs to the Native people was done."
On Wednesday, the Pope left Alberta for Quebec City, where he is expected to meet with Gov. Gen. Mary Simon and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau before he prepares for his address to the public.
Manitoba Métis Federation president David Chartrand travelled there to meet with Pope Francis in the afternoon.
Chartrand says while Métis elders from Manitoba have accepted the Pope's apology, he's looking for a commitment from the Pope that he won't forget the Métis people.
"He's going to be gone. He's going to go overseas again and we'll probably never see him again. Last time [a pope visited Canada] was, what, 1984?" he said Wednesday.
"I hope that the message … [Pope Francis will] take back is that don't give up on us and we won't give up on you.… There's 1.3 billion Catholics in the world. So you could easily walk away from us."
But Chartrand hopes the Pope will follow through with action on helping Indigenous people in Canada recover from the impact of residential schools.
"I hope you never, ever forget what [residential schools] did. And they always committed at the Vatican to take care of correcting that wrong."
With files from Emily Brass and Rachel Bergen