A warrior for Indigenous women and girls | Indigenous Rights

Because the solar set over Rome, Lorelei Williams calmly noticed the regular stream of vacationers who flocked into the Colosseum, the place warriors as soon as fought to the demise earlier than tens of hundreds of spectators.

Wrapped in a blood-red silk cape and along with her black hair neatly braided, she was in Italy to witness a historic occasion – one she had come all the way in which from Canada to be a part of.

Lorelei is Salish/Coast Salish from the Skatin Nations/Sts’Ailes, close to Vancouver, British Columbia. When a delegation of First Nations, Inuit and Metis representatives have been invited to Rome to satisfy with Pope Francis, Lorelei knew she needed to be there, too. So she took break day work and paid for the journey herself. For Lorelei, it was a method to honour her late mother and father.

The delegates have been there to ask the pope to apologise for the Catholic Church’s position in Canada’s residential faculties – the federally funded, church-run establishments that operated from the late 1800s till 1996 with the purpose of forcibly assimilating Indigenous kids.

Greater than 150,000 Indigenous kids from throughout Canada have been torn from their households and communities and compelled to attend the colleges the place bodily, sexual, emotional and religious abuse was rife.

Laurelei Williams standing outside the Vatican.
Laurelei Williams exterior the Vatican [Amber Bracken/Al Jazeera]

Lorelei’s mother and father have been amongst them.

Hundreds of youngsters died on the faculties, and whereas Lorelei’s mother and father survived, she believes the trauma her mom endured at her residential college ultimately killed her.

That’s the reason being in Rome was so essential to her.

“That is one thing I wanted to see with my very own eyes,” she stated, softly. “For the youngsters, for the lacking and murdered and for my mother and father, I simply felt like I wanted to be right here.”

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