Pope headed to Arctic for last leg of penitential Canada trip

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Pope Francis on Friday was to fly to Nunavut, the territory that covers most of the Canadian Arctic, on his final stop in a landmark tour apologizing for the abuse of Indigenous children in Catholic-run schools.

The 85-year-old pontiff made a speech first to a delegation of Indigenous peoples in Quebec City, where he told them he was “returning home greatly enriched… I also feel a part of your family.”

Later, he is to travel to the vast northern territory’s capital, Iqaluit, which means “the place of many fish.”

There, he will first meet with survivors of the residential school system — which saw Indigenous children separated from their families, language and culture in a bid to stamp out their identity — before appearing at a public event hosted by the Inuit.

Residents in Iqaluit, where small houses line the rocky ocean shore, have listened closely to the pope’s words so far on his trip.

“It’s not going to solve anything, but an apology to the world, it means a lot to us. It does,” Iqaluit stay-at-home mother Elisapee Nooshoota, 36, told AFP in the community of just over 7,000 people on Thursday.