VIDEO: Justin Trudeau apologizes to Tsilhqot'in for 1864 hanging of chiefs

Vincent Schilling

Justin Trudeau apologized and stated the chiefs are “fully exonerated of any crime or wrongdoing.”

The Canadian Press has posted a video of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who visited the Tsilhqot’in title lands near Chilko Lake, B.C., on Friday, November 2nd to apologize for the hanging of six chiefs that took place tragically 1864 during the Chilcotin War.

Trudeau stated the chiefs are “fully exonerated of any crime or wrongdoing.”

"Those are mistakes that our government profoundly regrets and is determined to set right. The treatment of the Tsilhqot'in chiefs represents a betrayal of trust, an injustice that you have carried for more than 150 years," Trudeau said as reported by CTV.

Chief Joe Alphonse, tribal chairman of the Tsilhqot'in Nation, told Canda's CTV news that the apology was significant not because it was the first time that a prime minister had visited title lands, and that the apology was made directly to community members.

"For me as chief last March it was a very emotional journey, a spiritual one. It took its toll physically, mentally. So I've been through that, I've gone through that," Alphonse said.

Trudeau had made a "statement of exoneration" in the House of Commons in March and agreed to visit the title lands at that time.

Trudeau rode into the community on a black horse, the gesture by Trudeau was meant to honor a similar ride by the chiefs, who had arrived on horseback to have peace talks with federal officials, but were hanged.

That day tribal members performed a smudging ceremony and gave Trudeau a buckskin jacket similar to the one his father often wore.

Follow Indian Country Today’s associate editor Vincent Schilling (Akwesasne Mohawk) on Twitter -@VinceSchilling


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Comments (1)
No. 1-1

There was an apology by Australian government to the indigenous there, too. But it just wipes away their guilt. However, it is an admittance of vile wrong doing for the theft of continents & islands - so then put these actions in the history books that are taught to the children of the world and stop being fraudulent, long pretending humanity that has denied & hidden actions committed just for money & control - the exploitation of the stolen lands and the exploitation of the indigenous of those lands. All committed by the same European peoples.