A delegation from the Tsilhqot’in National Government is planning a trip to New Westminster to honor a Tsilhqot’in Chief who was executed following the Chilcotin War 156 years ago.
Toosey Chief Francis Laceese said this is a memorial to Chief Ahan who took part in the war against European settlers in the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast.
“The settlers, they were intentionally spreading smallpox amongst our Nation. They had come through and done that and a lot of our people were dying off and then they were going to come back and said that they’ll do that again. And that’s when Chief Ahan and a few others decided that they were going to protect the people and the lands from that.”
Laceese said the TNG holds this memorial for Chief Ahan every year on July 18th.
“In New Westminster, there’s a high school where it’s possible that he might be buried at and that’s where we do the ceremony. We have a good working relationship with the New Westminster City Council. They honor us for coming down every other year to honor Chief Ahan.”
Ahan was one of six Chiefs who were executed.
Five were executed in Quesnel in October 1864, while Ahan was hanged in New Westminster the following year.