Archbishop Bernard A. Hebda of St. Paul and Minneapolis acknowledged with sadness and an apology a federal report released May 11 about abuses of Native American children in government-supported boarding schools — some run by the Catholic Church, including in Minnesota.
Hundreds of boarding schools supported by the U.S. government for 150 years sought to forcefully assimilate Native American and Indigenous children into white society, a first-of-its-kind report from the Interior Department said.
Some 80 years before the Pilgrims voyaged west seeking religious freedom in the “New World,” the Catholic faith was already embraced by some longtime inhabitants of North and South America — the native people.
After Pope Francis voiced his intention earlier this year to travel to Canada as part of the nation’s reconciliation process with indigenous communities, one of the country’s top prelates has said the papal visit could come as early as next year.
In response to a late June announcement, the United States will be conducting an investigation of former federally funded boarding schools to search for graves of Native American children, a spokesperson for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops said June 28 the bishops will “look for ways to be of assistance.”
A federal judge July 26 dismissed a $250 million lawsuit against The Washington Post by a Kentucky Catholic high school student, ruling the newspaper’s articles and tweets about the student’s actions after the annual March for Life in January were protected by the First Amendment.