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NEWS RELEASE · 29th March 2010
FRD Delegation
Witnesses to Murder in Catholic Indian schools to Protest at the Vatican, Testify before Italian Parliamentarians

Aboriginal elders from Canada will offer prayers for their friends and relatives who died or were killed in Catholic Indian residential schools, at the institution in Rome responsible for their death. And they will name Pope Benedict, Joseph Ratzinger, as the one ultimately responsible.

Lillian Shirt of the Cree Nation and Charles Cook of the Anishinabe-Ojibway Nation will gather with Rev. Kevin Annett and other members of The Friends and Relatives of the Disappeared (FRD) and Italian supporters at a memorial service outside the Vatican in St. Peter's Square on Easter morning, Sunday April 4 at 11 am.

Both of the native elders survived incarceration in Catholic Indian schools in Canada, and witnessed the deaths of other students.

"Like Jesus, thousands of innocent children were crucified by religious fanatics in the Christian residential schools. We will help to resurrect them this Easter by naming what killed them, and holding their murderers responsible" stated the FRD delegation today.

"Pope Benedict is personally responsible for aiding and abetting pedophile priests, so this is not a crime that he can sweep under the rug or blame on others" stated delegation member Rev. Kevin Annett.

"As we asked the Pope in an unanswered letter two years ago, we want to know where his church buried the children who died at their hands, and have their remains surrendered for a proper burial. The buck stops with Joseph Ratzinger."

While in Rome, the FRD delegation will take their campaign to Italian politicians. On April 7, they will make a presentation to a human rights committee of the Italian Chamber of Deputies, and ask them to endorse an international inquiry into genocide in Protestant and Catholic residential schools in Canada.

The FRD delegation will hold a press conference prior to these meetings, at 2 pm on Wednesday, April 7 outside the front entrance to the Italian Chamber of Deputies, at the Sala delle Colonne, Via Poli 19, in downtown Rome.

The FRD delegation will also speak at public meetings in Parma, Reggio Emilia, Turin, Genoa, and Florence. Their tour has been organized and endorsed by numerous Italian native solidarity groups - a complete list follows - with the support of the provincial government of Genoa.

Schedule

29th March
Kevin Annett, Lori o’Rorke, Lillian Shirt and Charles Cook arrive in Italy

30th March, Parma
Conference (schools)

31st March, Reggio Emilia
Conference (schools)

1st April, Turin - 09:00 p.m. (21,00)
Cafè Liber, Circolo Arci, Corso Vercelli 2.
Conference

2nd April Genoa - 04:30 p.m. (16,30)
Provincial Government of Genoa, Council Hall, Piazzale Mazzini 2.
Meeting & Conference with the Civil Authorities of the Provincial Government

3rd April, Florence - 04:00 p.m. (16,00)
Baptist Church Headquarters, Borgo Ognissanti 4.
Conference

4th April, Rome - 11:00 a.m. (11,00)
St. Peter's Square, outside the Vatican
Memorial Service

7th April, Rome - 02:30 p.m. (14,30)
Italian Chamber of Deputies, Sala delle Colonne, Via Poli 19
Unrepentant documentary: Conference & Debate will follow

8th April, Rome
Private meeting at the Italian Chamber of Deputies.
TO BE CONFIRMED

9th April, Rome
Kevin Annett will continue the European Tour with other Natives (names still to be communicated), Lori O’Rorke, Lillian Shirt and Charles Cooke will fly back to Canada