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Tsilhqot’in War Chiefs Exonerated by Government of Canada

All 338 MPs unanimously passed a motion Monday brought by the Tsilhqot’in Nation itself in the House of Commons.

The Government of Canada officially exonerated six Tsilhqot’in War Chiefs who were wrongfully arrested, tried and hanged during the Chilcotin War of 1864/65.

“Conservatives also hope that today’s apology is an important step for an improved relationship so that all residents of the Chilcotin can live side by side in harmony and enjoy mutual prosperity,” said Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo, MP Cathy McLeod.

“This is a place where we can help define Canada for this generation and the next.”

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The six current Chiefs of the Tsilhqot’in Nation were welcomed onto the floor of the House of Commons while in session.

“I think this is a very proud moment for our Nation,” TNG Tribal Chairman Chief Joe Alphonse told MYCARIBOONOW on March 23.

“It seems that we’ve always taken the hard road in getting things done, but we’ve always stuck to our principles. It’s taken my whole career to get to this place and what an honor it is to be able to be there, to stand there, to witness this.”

“I’m sure that our ancestors will be there in spirit and that’s what they would have wanted.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has committed to visiting the Tsilhqot’in Nation on Aboriginal title land later this year to deliver the statement of exoneration directly to the Tsilhqot’in people.

“The exoneration of our Chilcotin War Chiefs is the first step in working to heal a past defined by denial and open up a future defined by truth and relationships that will help our Nation restore and regenerate our governance based on our communal values,” said TNG Vice Chair Chief Russell Myers Ross.

“We welcome statements from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau exonerating six Tsilhqot’in war Chiefs and recognizing their wrongful hanging in 1864 and 1865. British Columbia also recognized the Chiefs as warriors and exonerated them in 2014 with full support from the Legislature,” said BC Premier John Horgan in a statement.

“Five Chiefs were imprisoned, tried and executed in October 1864 after accepting an invitation to discuss peace terms to end the Chilcotin War. A sixth Chief was hanged the following year. The dishonorable treatment of Tsilhqot’in leaders more than 150 years ago by the Colony of British Columbia continues to be a source of suffering for the Tsilhqot’in people.”

“Genuine reconciliation with Indigenous peoples includes acknowledging and owning past injustices and speaking truth to our shared and troubled history. We’re hopeful the acknowledgment from both the federal and provincial governments that these leaders had committed no crime or wrongdoing, and were honorably defending their lands and their peoples, will help continue the process of healing within the Tsilhqot’in Nation and across British Columbia and Canada.”

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