Future of burned church divides Listuguj community

For a year now, the ruined church has stood at the center of the Listuguj community. The complete cleaning of the site is still not yet started.

Léon Boulet, bursar of the diocese of Gaspé, refused interview requests from Radio-Canada. By e-mail, he indicates that the presence of asbestos made the work impossible before winter. The sections of walls still standing will therefore be demolished as soon as the thaw ends.

The ruins of the Listuguj church, surrounded by a fence.

The Listuguj church was ravaged by fire in April 2021.

Photo: Radio-Canada

Once the cleaning is finished, the bursar ensures that exchanges will take place with the Listuguj Band Council regarding the follow-up.

radio mass

Despite the loss of the church, masses continued to be celebrated every Sunday in Listuguj on the airwaves of the community radio station, at the request of several elders and people unable to travel.

There were people who parked in front of the church to listen to the mass on the radio from their vehiclesays Justin Caldwell, radio host at CHRQ 106.9 FM Listuguj.

The host is sitting in his radio studio.

Justin Caldwell, radio host at CHRQ 106.9 FM Listuguj.

Photo: Radio-Canada

For the past few weeks, mass has been said from the community’s Elder Center.

This radio meeting is not unanimous within the community, notes Justin Caldwell.

There are some people who do not want the Mass to be broadcast on the community radio. We understand, given the situation with residential school survivorshe says.

We know this is a controversial issue. But as much and as long as the elders and the people who cannot move want this mass on the radio, we will broadcast it. »

A quote from Justin Caldwell, radio host at CHRQ 106.9 FM Listuguj

A month after the fire that engulfed the church, the remains of 215 children were found at the site of a former Indian residential school in Kamloops.

Shoes and clothes were placed in front of the burnt church in Listuguj.

Clothing and shoes had been placed in front of the Listuguj church after the remains of 215 Aboriginal children who had attended the residential school were discovered in Kamloops.

Photo: Radio-Canada

Rebuild the church?

While some community members still mourn the loss of their church, others see it as a symbol of colonialism.

April Isaac grew up with the trauma residential school left on her mother. She vigorously rejects the construction of a new Catholic church in the community.

If anything should be built, it should be around our cultureshe argues.

Christianity has never been an integral part of who we are as a people. It was shoved down our throats. »

A quote from April Isaac, member of the Mi’gmaw community
April Isaac looks at the camera, with the ruins of the church in the background.

April Isaac, whose mother attended residential schools, doesn’t want a new church.

Photo: Radio-Canada

On the contrary Joshua Martin was devastated by the fire of the church, of which he hates the sight of the carcass. He hopes that a new, smaller church will quickly replace the old one, which was an important presence for him.

It’s important because that’s how I was raised. Every Sunday I went to church, for many yearshe explains.

Joshua Martin looks at the camera with the ruined church in the background.

Joshua Martin says he is devastated by the fire. He wants the church to be rebuilt.

Photo: Radio-Canada

A year after the church fire, the cause of the blaze is still undetermined. The police investigation is ongoing.

No representative of the Listuguj Band Council was available to comment on the file.

Based on a report by Isabelle The Rose


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