APRIL 29, 1864

CHILCOTIN WAR BEGINS

The Chilcotin War was a series of attacks by the Tsilhqot’in (Chilcotin) people in British Columbia on white workers building a gold road through Chilcotin land.  On April 29, 1864, a ferryman was killed refusing a demand from Head War Chief Klatsassin and others for food.  The tribe had suffered a smallpox epidemic and the people were famished.  The following attacks left 19 men dead.  After the attacks, Chief Alexis met with Gold Commissioner Cox and claimed Cox offered immunity.  The next day, 8 of the attackers arrived.  Five (including Klatsassin) were arrested and charged with murder.  They were tried, found guilty, and hanged.  The day of execution is one of mourning in the Tsilhqot’in Nation.  A 1993 report on relationships between the natives and the province’s justice system led the Attorney General apologize for the hanging of the Chilcotin Chiefs.  The Chiefs were later exonerated by British Columbia (2014) and by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on behalf of the Government of Canada (2018).

Source:  Tristan Hopper, “What really happened in the Chilcotin War, the 1864 conflict that just prompted an exoneration from Trudeau?”  National Post, 3/27/2018.  Retrieved 6/28/2019, https://nationalpost.com/news/canada/what-really-happened-in-the-chilcotin-war-the-1864-conflict-that-just-prompted-an-exoneration-from-trudeau
Sketch:  Rev. R.C. Lundin Brown (___-1876), Pre-1876.  War Chief Klatsassin.  Public Domain in U.S.:  Pre 1/1/1925.  Public Domain elsewhere where copyright term is author’s life plus 70 years or less. 

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