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Texts of the Holy See relating to Indigenous Peoples

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The Catholic Church has a long history of relations with the Indigenous Peoples of Canada, dating back to the arrival of the first Europeans. Some important moments that mark this special affinity include the Baptism of Chief Membertou, Grand Chief of the Mi’kmaq, in Port Royal in 1610, Pope Paul III’s papal bull against the enslavement of the Indigenous Peoples of the Americas in 1537, Pope John Paul II’s 1984 and 1987 Apostolic Visits to Canada, and Pope Benedict XVI’s 2009 meeting with Aboriginal and Church leaders in Rome.

Below are links to some of the texts of the Holy See highlighting the fellowship between the Catholic Church and Indigenous Peoples.

1) Pope Benedict XVI's homily, canonization of Kateri Tekakwitha, Rome, (Sunday, October 21, 2012)

2) Communiqué of the Holy See Press Office, following the meeting of Pope Benedict XVI with representatives of Indigenous Peoples and the Church in Canada, April 29, 2009

3) H.E. Archbishop Celestino Migliore’s address, intervention by the Holy See at the 6th Session of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, New York, (Wednesday, May 16, 2007)

4) Pope John Paul II’s homily, canonization of Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin, Mexico City, (Wednesday July 31, 2002)

5) Pope John Paul II’s post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation, Ecclesia in America, paragraph 64 (1999)

6) Pope John Paul II’s homily, mass for the Native Peoples of Canada, Camp Ground of Fort Simpson (Sunday, September 20, 1987)

7) Pope John Paul II’s meeting and address to the Native Peoples of Canada, Address of, Fort Simpson, Canada (Sunday, September 20, 1987)

8) Pope John Paul II’s meeting and address to the Native Peoples of the Americas, Memorial Coliseum, Phoenix (Monday, September 14, 1987)

9) Pope John Paul II’s Radio and Television Message to the Native Peoples of Canada (September 18, 1984)

10) Pope John Paul II’s homily at Holy Martyrs Shrine, Midland, Ontario,Liturgy of the Word with the Native Peoples of Canada (September 15, 1984)

11) Paul John Paul II’s meeting with Native Peoples at Sainte-Anne de Beaupré, Québec (September 10, 1984) (Translated from French by the CCCB)

12) Pope John Paul II’s address to the Indigenous Peoples of North America on the beatification of Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha (24 June 1980)

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On January 13th 2010, Most Reverend Vincent Nguyen became Canada’s first Catholic Bishop of East Asian descent. He is the great-grandson of a Vietnamese Martyr.