Although the foundation has no say in where the money goes, it hopes it will be used to fulfill other promises made to indigenous peoples. There is also the hope that it could once again stimulate reconciliation.
“At the very least, our books had to be free and clear of the relationship with the church. At most, it would be nice if the church took a close look at the true impact it has had on our people,” said board member Dede DeRose.
“Apologies have to be, I think, acknowledging what happened. It was never appropriate. There were harms to individual people. There are artifacts that need to be returned. There are a lot of things. We listen to a lot of Indigenous leaders and we take inspiration from that,” added Williams.
Half a million dollars is a big hole in the foundation’s books, but they are committed to continuing to work to support Indigenous students across Canada with or without funding from the sisters.
“We were working hard on this when the Sisters of Saint Anne donated $500,000 to our council. And we will work just as hard, if not harder, to make sure the opportunities are still there,” DeRose said.
Only one word came to DeRose’s mind following the Tuesday morning (June 28) announcement, one that she hopes will keep the foundation moving forward to help young people. indigenous people to reach their full potential.
“Our books are now free of any relationship with the Sisters of St. Anne and that brings a lot of relief to our board,” DeRose said.