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

Trail Shoppers Drug Mart offers virtual doctor appointments

Most Shoppers locations in B.C. will offer online appts by Aug. 4

From baseball stars to forest fires: Southeast Fire Centre water bomber has an interesting past

Tanker 489 is stationed in Castlegar this year, but in the 1960s it belonged to the L.A. Dodgers.

Survey, hotline launched amid probe into racist blood-alcohol guessing game at B.C. hospital

Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond has been appointed to lead an investigation by Health Minister Adrian Dix

Two search and rescue calls involving children end with happy outcomes

The incidents took place in Trail and Salmo area on July 5 and 6

Province releases Columbia River Treaty public feedback report

Reservoir levels, fair compensation for impacted communities, among many issues raised

Canadian policing organization calls for decriminalization of simple illicit drug possession

Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police want policing focus of opioid crisis to be replaced with a health one

B.C. appeals judge’s decision to leave three clubhouses in Hells Angels hands

The province has filed two notices of appeal related to the B.C. Supreme Court decision

Conservation officers relocate Spirit bear known to roam northwestern B.C.

Bear roamed valley north of Terrace for many years

B.C. premier applauds call to decriminalize drug possession

Police shouldn’t struggle with health issues, Horgan says

Indigenous leader Ed John pleads not guilty to historical sex charges

Ed John’s lawyer entered the plea by telephone on behalf of his client

Woman who talked to unconscious husband for 30 years gets solace from B.C. study

Ian Jordan suffered a head injury when he and another officer were on their way to a call in Victoria in September 1987

RCMP investigate threat against Indigenous totem poles on B.C.’s Sunshine Coast

Police describe the nature of the threat as ‘sensitive’

Ex-Okanagan Mountie forfeits 20 days’ pay after sexual misconduct review

A former Vernon RCMP constable made sexual comments, grabbed genitals of male officer in two incidents 10 years ago

Man found dead on Okanagan trail identified as Hollywood actor

GoFundMe campaign launched for man found dead at summit of Spion Kop

Most Read