For Years, Mcintosh Claims, She Was Sexually Molested by a Priest at the Institution. “He Abused Me in Ways That No Child Should Ever Have to Experience.

Manitoba’s capital city of Winnipeg A small girl’s white winter coat is unwrapped from Victoria McIntosh’s handbag and laid out on the table. Before she was sent to Fort Alexander residential school in the 1960s, her grandma made it for her, she recalls. But a nun stole her coat, she recalls.

“That nun took it off of me and threw it at my mom,” CNN spoke to her about it. As a result of this, she claims that the nun dubbed her mother a “savage.” For years, McIntosh claims, she was sexually molested by a priest at the institution. A child should never have to endure what he did to me. As a result, I would break down and weep. It occurred to him that he’d done it. I’m baffled as to why. Then why are you so upset with me?

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She has identified the priest as Arthur Masse, a 92-year-old who served as a priest at a residential school in Manitoba for more than a decade before retiring. Accused of sexual assault in June, Masse has yet to enter a plea. That which McIntosh went through was never forgiven by McIntosh‘s mother. This isn’t your fault; you had no option,” she tells him.

In contrast, McIntosh feels no remorse for the Catholic Church, despite its best efforts to atone. Earlier this week, Pope Francis flew to Canada, where he plans to personally apologize to indigenous peoples for the Catholic Church’s involvement in the government-sponsored residential school system.

Particular attention is being paid to the suffering of indigenous children who have been separated from their families, forbidden from speaking their native tongue, and forced to give up their culture, which in many cases has resulted in abuse on the physical, sexual, and emotional levels.

“Kneel down as you instructed us to. Kneel as if you were children and beg for forgiveness “As for the pope, McIntosh had this to say.
In September 2021, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau indicated that at least 150,000 Indigenous children across the country have been affected by the country’s first national holiday remembering victims and survivors.

Dark past

For more than a century, beginning in 1831, indigenous children in Canada were separated from their families and forced by the government to attend residential institutions run by Christian churches. Until the last one shut in 1998, roughly three-quarters of those schools fell under the Catholic Church’s administration.
In 2015, a report by Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission detailed decades of physical, sexual, and emotional abuse suffered by children in government and church-run institutions. More than 4,000 children died while at residential schools over a period of several decades, it estimated. In June 2021, the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc community discovered the remains of 215 children who attended the former Kamloops Indian Residential School, sending shockwaves across the country.
Children as young as three were buried on the grounds of the formerly Catholic Church-run school — once one of the largest in Canada.
The Pope’s visit comes as dozens of indigenous communities across Canada search the grounds of former residential institutions looking for unmarked graves.
Sagkeeng First Nation in southeastern Manitoba is actively surveying their land, with searches underway on the site of the former Fort Alexander Residential School. On the grounds of Fort Alexander, a drone operator flies a leading-edge commercial drone armed with ground-penetrating radar technology — part of a team carrying out a grisly operation to search deep below the earth for the bodies of missing Indigenous children.
Canadian drone company AltoMaxx was hired by the Sakeeng to survey the land and has expanded its search to several sites based on information gathered from survivors and elders. The searches have so far found 190 anomalies in the ground which could indicate the presence of human remains, says First Nation, Chief Derrick Henderson.
It’s a laborious and heartbreaking process, but one that’s necessary, according to him, if the Indigenous community is to come to terms with the intergenerational trauma that runs deep. “It’s at least comforting to know that we have to do what we must in order to get those children home. Right. Do what is right for the families, too. That’s what I believe is most important “According to what Henderson told CNN,
It is finally confirming the claims of the community’s elders, who have claimed for decades that thousands of children went missing while attending residential schools. There had been no listeners for such stories until recently. “Now we’re seeing the truth for what it is. As a result, the experience of our people in the residential schools will be taken seriously by the general public.
To apologise, the Pope travelled to Canada. In some indignous school survivors, he elicited a greater level of distress
To apologize, the Pope traveled to Canada. In some indigenous school survivors, he elicited a greater level of distress
Even if people didn’t comprehend or believe it, I thought that was the largest issue. Hence, now that this has been made public, people will begin to recognize that this really did occur “Henderson claims. A proper burial will be performed in the home communities of any remains that are discovered on the reservation. From 1905 to 1970, at least 31 Canadian communities were forced to send their children to Fort Alexander.

Unwillingness To Forgive

“I ask forgiveness, in particular, for the ways in which many members of the Church and of religious communities cooperated, not least through their indifference, in projects of cultural destruction and forced assimilation promoted by the governments of that time, which culminated in the system of residential schools,”  the Pope said on Monday.


However, despite the fact that the pontiff’s visit was at the request of Indigenous leaders, Joe Daniels, another Fort Alexander survivor, predicts that many people would view the pontiff’s apology with ambivalence and apathy. “Someone had to go to Rome to go and practically beg this guy to come here and apologize, why couldn’t he have done it on his own from here?” Daniels points to his heart as he says this. His community members have been waiting for an apology for years, and Daniels is aware of this.


The Catholic Church finally apologized to Canadian Indigenous leaders who visited the Vatican in April after decades of refusing to accept responsibility. Henry Bouvard, an 80-year-old survivor of a residential school, feels it’s too late to make reparations.  “You took away my education, you took away my life, you took away my marriage, you took away my identity, you took away everything I wanted to be. Now it’s nothing, and you say I’m sorry,” Shaking his head, he comments on the Pope’s apologies.


Bouvard claims he was stolen from his grandparents’ house when he was seven years old and has never been heard from again. As a result of the torture he received at Fort Alexander, he says, he lost his sense of self-identity and became a shell of his former self.
When Bouvard spoke about the priest’s sexual abuse, “It altered everything,” she recalled. That trauma has been blamed for his alcoholism and inability to love his wife and two children in the correct way, according to the man himself.
“I was disgusted by the priest’s treatment of me when I was in this place. Even as I grew older, I felt like I had lost my ability to be a person, a human being. I don’t know how else to describe it. It’s as though I’ve forgotten who I used to be. Who I was at the time.” According to Bouvard, he was not allowed to visit his family’s house.
He was once able to sneak away and make it to his grandmother’s place when he fled away. The next day, a police officer and a priest came to take him back. “I didn’t want anyone to know that I was in tears, so I was weeping internally because I didn’t want to go back to my old life. I went back and it all started over again.”

However, It’s Not Only Catholicism

The search for answers has also been stepped up by teams probing old residential schools run by other churches. Indigenous communities in Manitoba’s Sioux Valley have teamed up with academics and researchers from three universities to look for the remains of a church-run school that was later taken over and repurposed as a residential facility for non-indigenous students.


Recognizing their involvement in the management of residential schools, both churches have done so in public. According to the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation, a number of pupils attempted to flee the United Church school system in the 1940s and 1950s because of the school’s strict administration and subpar cuisine (NCTR).


As a child, Lorraine Pompano was transported to Brandon by her mother, who was just six years old. “I can vividly remember the day we were picked up from the reservation,” she said. “I remember crying and screaming and I was holding onto my dad’s legs, not wanting to go. But they wrenched me from his arms.” Upon arriving at the school, Pompano says she and the other children were stripped of their clothes, made to shower, had their hair cut, and made to wear clothes with numbers on them.


“We were given this number and that’s what we were identified as, a number…when they called you, they called your number,” she said. Pompano, students were only in school for half of the day. She stated the rest of the day was spent cleaning up after the personnel, including cleaning up the dining room.

She claimed that the children were punished with corporal punishment and that they didn’t have enough food to eat. In addition, they were not allowed to talk in their original tongue. “When I think back to how we were treated when we spoke our language, I’m still afraid to do so today. We were slapped on the hand or had our noses and ears pulled if we wept or spoke our language “The statement was made by Pompano.

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She told me that a schoolmate of hers had mysteriously vanished one day. “I have no idea what transpired. We inquired about her but were left in the dark. I’m really curious about what happened to her to this day.” There were 104 possible burials identified at the school, according to Sioux Valley Dakota Nation Chief Jennifer Bone in June 2021.

According to reports, 99 people who died in connection with the Brandon residential school and may be buried in well-known cemeteries have been located. Eldon Yellowhorn, an Indigenous Studies professor at Simon Fraser University on the Peigan Indian Reserve whose mother was a residential school survivor, is one of the researchers involved in the study. Investigators check national archives and church records as well as coroner’s and police files when seeking to identify victims buried in the ground, Yellowhorn said.

Whether or whether graves should be exhumed in order to get DNA samples that can be used to find relatives still alive is a contentious issue. Remains should be left in places where they are buried according to various cultures. According to Yellowhorn, “we have to negotiate with the survivors, families, and communities.” SVDN is one of the few communities that has not carried out exhumations.

“Some relatives’ final resting places are now known to the public. As a result of the fact that many persons who died at these schools received only a message stating, “Your kid has died,” their parents may not have known how or where they were buried “He elaborated.

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