Tsilhqot’in Chief Joe Alphonse. (Black Press Media files)

Chiefs honour Indigenous leader wrongfully hanged in B.C. 154 years ago today

Chief Joe Alphonse says they want his remains returned to his homeland in B.C.’s Cariboo region

Chiefs have gathered in New Westminster, B.C., to commemorate an Indigenous leader who was wrongfully tried and hanged 154 years ago.

Chief Ahan was hanged in the city’s downtown on July 18, 1865, and a ceremony memorializing his exoneration was held at a high school today where the Tsilhqot’in Nation believes its ancestor could be buried.

Chief Joe Alphonse, tribal chair of the Tsilhqot’in National Government, says the nation had asked the province and school district to conduct DNA tests if the remains are ever found, but neither has agreed.

Alphonse says their chief was wrongfully executed and they want his remains returned to his homeland in B.C.’s Cariboo region.

VIDEO: Statue of B.C.’s ‘Hanging Judge’ removed from New Westminster courthouse

Historian Tom Swanky says Ahan was arrested in May 1865, nearly a year after five Tsilhqot’in men were hanged during the Chilcotin War, when Indigenous leaders reacted to an attempt by settlers to deliberately spread smallpox for a second time.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau officially exonerated all six warriors last year and then-British Columbia premier Christy Clark offered an official apology in 2014 for the wrongful hangings.

Swanky says Justice Matthew Begbie, whose statue was removed earlier this month from in front of the provincial courthouse in New Westminster, ordered the hanging of the other five men but was not connected with Ahan’s case.

He says all six Tsilhqot’in leaders were arrested and given brief trials before five of them were hanged in Quesnel and Ahan later met the same fate in New Westminster.

The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Morning Start: The Exorcist film set was haunted

Your morning start for Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2020

Former Summerlander receives Emmy nomination for makeup work

Lucky Bromhead recognized for her work with Canadian sitcom Schitt’s Creek

Health care priorities debated following surprise funding announcement

Surprise provincial funding stirs debate on local health care priorities during regional meeting

Morning Start: High heels were first designed for men

Your morning start for Monday, Aug. 10, 2020

QUIZ: Do you know the truth?

In what has been described as a post-truth era, how much do you know about truth and lies?

Canucks ride momentum into NHL playoff series against defending Stanley Cup champs

PREVIEW: Vancouver opens against St. Louis on Wednesday

COVID-19 outbreak at South Okanagan farm declared over

There continues to be other community exposure events in the Interior Health region

Man, 54, charged in connection with fatal attack of Red Deer doctor

Doctor was killed in his walk-in clinic on Monday

One dead as fish boat sinks off southern Vancouver Island

Shawnigan Lake-registered Arctic Fox II went down off Cape Flattery, west of Victoria

Landlord takes front door, windows after single B.C. mom late with rent

Maple Ridge mom gets help from community generosity and government

VIDEO: Revelstoke rallies to save snared eagle

Local climber scales tree to save the raptor

42 more people test positive for COVID-19 in B.C.

The province has recorded no new deaths in recent days

Joe Biden selects California Sen. Kamala Harris as running mate

Harris and Biden plan to deliver remarks Wednesday in Wilmington

Most Read