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Thursday, March 23, 2023

APTN Investigates: Indigenous people in Canada behind bars | Jesuits of Canada release names of priests 'credibly accused' of sexually abusing minors

Episode 2: John Derek Mills is a ‘60s Scoop survivor from Waterhen Lake First Nation with a long juvenile record and a lifetime of crime that culminated in a botched armed robbery in 1996. Originally sentenced to seven years in prison, Mills is still behind bars nearly three decades later. In this episode, reporter Rob Smith talks to Mills to uncover why he has fallen through every crack in the justice system. 

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A black and white photo shows children in coats and hats walking through the snow in front of large brick building, following a person wearing a dark coat and wide-brim hat.
The Spanish Indian Residential School for Boys was managed by the Jesuits, while the girls school was managed by a Roman Catholic teaching order, the Daughters of the Heart of Mary. (Shingwauk Residential Schools Centre, Algoma University)



10 out of 27 Jesuits 'credibly accused' of abusing minors worked at a residential school or a First Nation

Over a third of the Jesuits who are "credibly accused" of sexually abusing minors worked in First Nations or at the Spanish Indian Residential School in Spanish, Ont.

The religious order released a list of names, along with the places they were assigned to work, on Monday as part of an attempt to be more transparent and accountable. 

Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Marc Miller said the revelations bring about mixed feelings.

"Largely, the Jesuit fathers identified there have passed, I think robs people of an opportunity to get accountability," he said.

"I do understand that just seeing people's names on this list can be quite triggering for a number of people but I think at the end of the day that in the spirit of better late than never, it is nice to see the Jesuits taking some accountability and transparency in this."

He said from a government perspective, there is a continued need to support communities with wellbeing, language, and culture as they grapple with the "pattern of predation on Indigenous communities."

"We know that a lot of the harm that has occurred has harmed communities as a whole," said Miller.

"We are not dealing with acts of individuals in isolated circumstances. I think that is an important truth that we have to keep at the top of our mind because it goes to the institutional nature of this for which there needs to continue to be accountability."

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