Abbot Urban Federer “Shocked” About Canadian Missionary Schools

It appears that religious people from Switzerland also participated in the re-education of Aboriginal children in Canada in mission schools. The hermit Abbot Urban Federer, in an interview with Tages-Anzeiger, called on the state and the Church to take responsibility.

The basics in brief

  • Lucerne historian Manuel Minrath reports in his 2020 non-fiction book “Under the Northern Lights” on how whites forcibly assimilated Aboriginal peoples in Canada.

Boarding schools for Aboriginal children (“boarding schools”) played a major role.

These schools operated from the 17th century until the 1990s and were run by churches. They made headlines in recent weeks when mass graves were found near such former schools.

Minrath wrote that the schools were designed to completely demolish indigenous civilizations from their way of life. In his view, the Swiss also bear a historical responsibility. Switzerland has also benefited from the return of indigenous peoples.

Federer told the newspaper that he was shocked and ashamed, about the bodies found in Catholic schools. Indigenous culture has been Europeanized and “civilized” and destroyed without respect.

According to the newspaper, Catholic missionaries from Switzerland also worked in schools, especially in the late 19th century. The head of the Benedictine monastery in Einsiedeln said he did not know if the Swiss of his patronage would study in schools like these in Canada, as they are in the USA.

Federer said the processing should take place on site in Canada and the USA. He does not think there is anything about this in the archives of Einsiedeln Abbey. Of course, the state and the church now have to stand up and take responsibility.

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