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Yukon Anglican Diocese to apologize to Yukon residential school students

The Anglican Diocese of the Yukon will make a public apology to former Chooutla Residential School students.

The Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Yukon to make a speech in Carcross Saturday

Larry Robertson, the Bishop of the Diocese of Yukon, said he will make the apology on Saturday at the site of the former residential school in Carcross, Yukon. (Mike Rudyk/CBC)

The Anglican Diocese of Yukon is making a public apology to former Chooutla Residential School students at the request of the Carcross/Tagish First Nation.

The Anglican Church operated the residential school. The school opened in 1911 at the base of Nares Mountain, a short distance from Carcross, Yukon.

The residential school closed in 1969 and reopened in 1972 as the Carcross Community Education Centre. The Carcross/Tagish First Nation helped tear down the building in 1993. 

"It's an apology for spiritual harm — thinking of the harm that has been done by the denial of many of the spiritual practices of the Indigenous peoples across Canada," says Larry Robertson, the Bishop of the Diocese of Yukon.

Robertson said this is an apology for actions that condemned Indigenous traditions. 

"We have erred. The Anglican Church of Canada, and we only speak for the Anglican Church of Canada, that we have erred and we have sinned," said Robertson. "We have not acknowledged their spiritual relationship with the creator."

He said in the past, the church has put down or demonized the many spiritualities and ceremonies and dismissed many traditions. Earlier this month, the Anglican Church of Canada publicly apologized for not acknowledging First Nations' spiritual connection to the creator.

Robertson said he will make the apology on Saturday at the site of the former residential school in Carcross.

The Anglican Church also made an apology in 1994. Robertson said that apology was for the physical harm to students who attended the residential school.