STORY: The July 24-30 trip will include at least five encounters with native people as Francis makes good on a promise to apologize on their home territory for the Church's role in the state-sanctioned schools, which sought to erase indigenous cultures.
"Unfortunately in Canada many Christians, including some members of religious orders, contributed to the policies of cultural assimilation that in the past gravely damaged native populations in various ways," Francis said at his weekly address in St. Peter's Square.
About 150,000 children were taken from their homes. Many were subjected to abuse, rape and malnutrition in what the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in 2015 called "cultural genocide".
The schools were at the center of discussions between the Pope and indigenous people at the Vatican in March and April.
The 85-year-old Pope will visit Edmonton, Maskwacis, Lac Ste. Anne, Quebec, and Iqaluit in Canada's Arctic territory. He is scheduled to deliver nine homilies and addresses and say two masses.