BC Officially Apologizes for Hanging of Six TNG People

The province of British Colombia has made an official apology in the BC Legislative Assembly on Wednesday, seeking forgiveness for the wrongful hanging of six Tsilhqot’in war chiefs in 1864 and 1865. The province acknowledged to have invited five chiefs to discuss terms of peace in order to end the Chilcotin War in 1864, and to have had instead imprisoned, tried and executed them in October. Almost a year later, a sixth chief was also hanged.

According to the statement issued by B.C. Premier Christy Clark, the B.C.’s will also try to exonerate the chiefs as much as possible. The public statement was part of a promise made earlier in the letter of understanding between the Tsilhqot’in National Government (TNG) and the Province of British Columbia made on September 10, 2014. The apology was part of a mutual agreement to address necessary healing around a difficult history for First Nations people within the Tsilhqot’in territory, including mistreatment, misrepresentation, and a lack of recognition.

In response to the apology, Tribal Chairman of the Tsilhqot’in National Government, Chief Joe Alphonse, stated that “we have much more work to do.” He alleged that “we call on the Federal Government to rise to this historic opportunity as well, and take the same steps to exonerate these leaders that died for our people and our way of life.” It was added that “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. Together we can transform this province and this country.”

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