by Jeremy Appel, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
(ANNews) – Assembly of First Nations (AFN) Chief RoseAnne Archibald says a planned Indigenous delegation to the Vatican next week is being postponed as a result of concerns about the omicron variant, CBC News reports.
Delegates from the AFN, as well as Inuit and Metis organizations, were scheduled to meet privately with Pope Francis from Dec. 17 to 20 in advance of his as-yet-unscheduled trip to Canada, where he’s expected to officially apologize for the Catholic Church’s role in operating forced assimilation institutions.
“The health and wellbeing of our delegates, their families and communities is paramount to us, and we will not put anyone in harm’s way if we can help it,” Archibald said at a Dec. 7 winter meeting of the AFN.
Roman Catholic Archbishop of Regina Donald Bolen said he’s personally OK with travel at this time, but appreciates the health concerns of the Indigenous delegates.
“Relations are being strengthened, the voices of survivors are being heard, the waves of suffering experienced at residential schools are being acknowledged in a greater way than they ever have before,” Bolen told the CBC.
“I profoundly hope that that work of truth and reconciliation continues, and of course it can continue.”