Tsilhqot’in Territory BC — October 26, 2018 marked the 154th anniversary of British Columbia’s martyrdom of the “Chilcotin Chiefs.” Riding a black horse into the community, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau delivered the apology in person at the Tsilhqot’in territory in British Columbia last week in a display of respect for their traditions. But he also
Tsilhqot’in Territory BC — October 26, 2018 marked the 154th anniversary of British Columbia’s martyrdom of the “Chilcotin Chiefs.”
Riding a black horse into the community, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau delivered the apology in person at the Tsilhqot’in territory in British Columbia last week in a display of respect for their traditions. But he also came with remorse over the deeds enacted by British agents against their people in the name of the British Crown and of Canada, in the mid 1800’s.
Four Chiefs were hanged at Quesnel, BC in 1864/65, and another was hanged a year later on the same charges that they had killed 14 settlers.
But why did British Columbia hang the “Chilcotin Chiefs” in the first place?
The confrontation began when an all-white road-building crew entered Tsilhqot’in territory without permission in 1864.
The Supreme Court of Canada dates this claim to The 1846 Oregon Treaty made between Britain and the United States. It was contested only this year and has already come to a conclusion. The Courts upheld that the Tsilhqot’in Chiefs were innocent and only trying to stop the genocide being employed against their people by unscrupulous, government protected, land sharks.
Canada has now officially apologized for its part in the “political murder” of its tribal leaders.
The Oregon Treaty was made without notice to the area’s citizens and simply divided the signatories’ Euro-interests between each other along the 49th parallel.
Trudeau earlier made a “statement of exoneration” in the House of Commons in March that officially cleared the Chiefs of any wrongdoing.
”For me as Chief last March it was a very emotional journey, a spiritual one. It took its toll physically and mentally, so I’ve been through that’,” Alphonse said. “Today it’s about our membership, and our membership all these years not believing that a prime minister would acknowledge that. So it’s a powerful day.”
Trudeau spoke in a contrite voice saying, “Those are mistakes that our government profoundly regrets and is determined to set right. The treatment of the Tsilhqot’in chiefs represents a betrayal of trust, an injustice that you have carried for more than 150 years”
Trudeau said the federal government continues to work with the tribal council to develop a governance agreement by spring 2019.
Chief Joe Alphonse, tribal chairman of the Tsilhqot’in Nation, said the apology was “significant.”
In appreciation, Trudeau was given a buckskin jacket matching the iconic one his father Pierre Trudeau wore.
The British Columbia government apologized for the executions in 1993 and installed a commemorative plaque at the site of the hangings.