BC Premier acknowledges wrongful hangings of six Tsilhqot’in war chiefs
Premier Christy Clark acknowledged BC’s past wrongful acts this morning by apologizing for the wrongful hangings of six Tsilhqot’in war chiefs in 1864 and 1865, and stating the Province’s will to exonerate the chiefs.
“This is an important day for the Tsilhqot’in - the Province of British Columbia has demonstrated leadership by exonerating our six Chiefs and starting the process of healing. We have much more work to do,” said Tribal Chairman of the Tsilhqot’in National Government Chief Joe Alphonse. “If Canada is ready to acknowledge the wrongs of the past, and build real and respectful relationships today, we can move from pain into opportunity, from a dark history into a future we can all be proud of.”
In the summer of 1864, Tsilhqot'in members killed 14 construction workers employed by colonial official Alfred Waddington to build a road from Bute Inlet to provide faster access to the gold field. Five chiefs were imprisoned, tried and executed after being invited to Quesnel for peace talks to the end of the Chilcotin War. The following year, a sixth chief was hanged.
“Our government stood with members from all sides to apologize for wrongful acts, and commit ourselves to redressing them so that we can build a better future together,” said Clark. “Today marks a significant step toward reconciliation with the Tsilhqot’in Nation, and to a relationship of respect and recognition.”