Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is expected to formally exonerate six First Nations chiefs who were hanged by British Columbia’s colonial government in the mid-1800s.
A video posted Wednesday on the Tsilhqot’in National Government’s Facebook page shows Chief Joe Alphonse discussing the exoneration, which is anticipated to happen Monday, and the extent to which the event affected his people and their relationship with Canada.
The hangings stem from the Chilcotin War of 1864, which involved a confrontation between Tsilhqot’in warriors and a white construction crew building a road through the First Nation’s territory that led to 14 labourers being killed.
Five chiefs subsequently arrived at what they believed would be peace talks with government representatives, where they were arrested, tried and hanged; a sixth chief was executed the following year in New Westminster.
The B.C. government apologized for the hangings in 1993 and installed a commemorative plaque in B.C.’s Interior where the five hangings took place.
(The Canadian Press)