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Thursday, January 8, 1998 Published at 15:37 GMT

World: Americas

Indigenous Canadians get apology
image: [ Jane Stewart says 'sorry' ]
Jane Stewart says 'sorry'

The indigenous people of Canada have been given a formal apology for years of neglect, including the widespread abuse of Indian children at federally-funded boarding schools.

The apology was read out by a government minister Jane Stewart in front of a gathering of native leaders in Ottawa.

The government has offered nearly $250m to help the victims of physical and sexual abuse in schools; money will also be spent on projects to improve life on the reservations set aside for indigenous people.

One Indian leader at the ceremony in Ottawa, Phil Fontaine said the gathering marked the beginning of a new era; other native groups said the apology and financial support didn't go nearly far enough.

From the newsroom of the BBC World Service

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