Justin Trudeau apologises for Canada Tsilhqot'in hangings


Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau listens to a drummer after delivering a statement of exoneration to the Tsilhqot"in Nation and the descendants of six Tsilhqot"in Chiefs in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada on 26 March 2018.Image copyright
Reuters

Image caption

Addressing Canada’s parliament, Mr Trudeau absolved the Tsilhqot’in leaders of any wrongdoing.

Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has apologised for the 1864 hanging of a group of indigenous leaders by British colonial authorities.

Five First Nation chiefs were called to what they thought were peace talks to end a war in what is now British Columbia.

Instead, they were tried and hanged over the killing of 14 white settlers.

The incident is considered one of the most infamous episodes in Canadian history.

The hangings of the five indigenous leaders happened during the Chilcotin War, a confrontation between the Tsilhqot’in people and white settlers who were constructing roads in the area.

A sixth chief was later hanged near New Westminster after trying to negotiate paying damages.

Addressing Canada’s parliament, Mr Trudeau absolved the Tsilhqot’in leaders of any wrongdoing.

He spoke of “profound regret” for its actions against the Tsilhqot’in chiefs.

“We honour and recognise six Tsilhqot’in chiefs – men who were treated and tried as criminals in an era where both the colonial government and the legal process did not respect the inherent rights of the Tsilhqot’in people,” the Canadian prime minister said.

Image copyright
Reuters

Image caption

Mr Trudeau said “no consideration was given to the needs of the Tsilhqot’in people who were there first” by the colonial authorities.

Mr Trudeau also said that, during the “gold rush” of the era, “no consideration was given to the needs of the Tsilhqot’in people who were there first” by the colonial authorities.

Chief Joe Alphonse, the tribal chairman of the Tsilhqot’in nation, told the BBC that Mr Trudeau’s apology was “a giant step to start off with”.

“154 years it took us to get here. 154 years is huge. It’s a very emotional day,” the tribal chief said.



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