Home » Pope to the natives of the North: “From you we must learn how to protect the environment”

Pope to the natives of the North: “From you we must learn how to protect the environment”

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Pope to the natives of the North: “From you we must learn how to protect the environment”

It has risen – “It is necessary to preserve a healthy and loving relationship with the whole creation”. Francis concludes his apostolic journey to Canada with a stop in the far north of the country, in Iqaluit, the capital of the Nunavut Territory, close to the Arctic Circle where global warming melts the glaciers as had never happened in recent decades. And here, meeting in the elementary school, in private, some pupils of the former residential schools for the indigenous, and immediately after the young and the elderly in the adjacent square, he speaks of the need to “take care, hand down the care of the land, care for people, care for history “.

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by our correspondent Paolo Rodari


Iqaluit, “place of many fish” in the Inuktitut language, is just 300 kilometers from the Arctic Circle: a road, the famous “road to nowhere”, runs along lakes, rolling hills and tundra without then leading anywhere. The city is home to the largest community of Inuit (about 3,900 people), an indigenous population of the coasts of America, distributed from Greenland to Alaska, and also present in Asia, at the tip of the Chukchi peninsula, in Siberia. In 1800 the Inuit had to live with those who hunted whales and then with ships and businesses in the bay, trades that collapsed in the 1900s, leaving room for those of furs. Here too Francis asks “forgiveness for the evil committed by many Catholics who have contributed to the policies of cultural assimilation and liberation in that distorted educational system”. With these policies “families have been broken up, the little ones taken away, far from their environment; winter has fallen over everything”.

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Francis explains that he came to Canada for “the desire to travel together on a journey of healing and reconciliation that, with the help of the Creator, will help us shed light on what happened and overcome that dark past”.

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Together the Pope recalls how it was the natives who lived, respecting them, “these vast places that for others would be hostile”. He says: “You have known how to love them, respect them, protect them and enhance them, passing on fundamental values ​​from generation to generation, such as respect for the elderly, a genuine sense of fraternity and care for the environment”. “Taking care, handing down care: this is what young people are called in particular, supported by the example of the elderly! Care for the earth, care for people, care for history”. And he quotes Goethe who in Faust says: “What you inherited from your fathers, reconquer if you really want to possess it”.

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