When Pope Francis arrives in Canada and is expected to ask forgiveness for Catholic boarding schools, a team of translators will ensure that no words are lost for those who receive the apology.
Henry Pitawanakwat, from the Three Fires Confederacy of Manitoulin Island, Ontario, is on this team and will translate the Pope’s words into the Ojibwa language.
From the late 19th century to 1996, Canada took Indigenous children from their homes and forced them into institutions run by church staff, where they were forbidden to speak their language.
“This Is Our Moment”: Phil Fontaine on Importance and Expectations of Pope’s Visit to Canada
Pitawanakwat’s mother was a boarding school survivor, which he says influenced him too. And he says he suffered abuse and trauma from members of the Jesuits as a youth.
Nonetheless, he said it was important not to let his own feelings get in the way when he translated the Pope’s words into a language children were once punished for using.
“I have to put those feelings aside because I am a professional translator and will do my due diligence to produce a correct translation no matter what subject is being spoken,” Pitawanakwat said in an interview on Saturday, a day before the scheduled date of the Pope begin his visit to Canada in Edmonton.
An archaeologist at the Canadian Museum of History in Gatineau, Que., Pitawanakwat, he is a member of the Canadian Government’s Translation Office and has translated the 2019 and 2021 federal election debates and recently for an APTN series.
Hoover Dam Explosion: A Look at What Happened So Far
“This will be Pierre Poilievre’s party”: the conservatives expect a realignment
Francis, who is from Argentina, speaks Spanish, so Pitawanakwat says another interpreter will translate the Pope’s words into English before he and other interpreters translate those words into a dozen indigenous languages.
Web links for each language will then be available so people can listen to the translations in real time.
“Language has always been my passion. I’ve always been interested in it,” says Pitawanakwat. “As a young student at school, I realized that we had a different concept and perspective on the language.”
assistant University of A professor explains role of papal visit in reconciliation
Translating a religious event will bring challenges, he said. Many biblical words have no corresponding words in Ojibwa. But he says the general context is the same _ prayers in both cultures have the same reason: forgiveness and letting go.
While Pitawanakwat remains impartial about the translation process, he hopes to hear more than an apology from Francis. He wants a commitment to supporting indigenous language and culture.
Preserving indigenous languages is important, he said, not just to remember the past but to save the future. The languages, he said, hold knowledge to solve current problems such as climate change and pollution.
“I would like to see funding for the language. Help us create immersion schools where we can bring back our own language,” says Pitawanakwat. “Because straight from the boarding school we lost our language and our culture.
“An apology for him, it’s over. For us, the trauma and pain are lifelong.”
© 2022 The Canadian Press
https://globalnews.ca/news/9011825/pope-francis-canada-translators-apology-indigenous-languages/ Pope Francis in Canada: Translators apologize in indigenous languages - National