Tsilhqot’in 1864 war chiefs exoneration celebrated in region’s various communities

Jimmy Lulua Sr. and his family participated in one of several community gatherings to hear Trudeau’s formal apology

Mabel Solomon grew up hearing her Tsilhqot’in history and how six war chiefs were hanged for murder after they fought to protect their territory from road building.

“It was before my time,” the 94 year old told her daughter Dinah Lulua in the Tsilhqot’in language.

Solomon, her daughter, and son Bernie, were among about 100 people who gathered in the Gibraltar Room Monday to watch the live stream presentation of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau formally exonerate and apologize for the hanging.

Throughout the region, the Tsilhqot’in National Government hosted similar events in each of the communities so residents could watch the proceedings and share a meal together.

“We drove three hours from Nemiah to be here today,” Dinah said.

As a young teenager, Dinah’s husband Jimmy Lulua Sr. also heard stories about the war chiefs.

“I never thought an apology would ever happen,” Jimmy said. “It’s been a long time coming.”

Jimmy, who was MC for the event in the Gibraltar Room, said it was an honour to be asked.

“This exoneration of our war chiefs shows how strong our leadership is right now,” he said.

During Trudeau’s speech, the six present-day Tsilhqot’in chiefs — Tl’etinqox Chief Joe Alphonse, ?Esdilagh Chief Roy Stump, Yunesit’in Chief Russell Myers Ross, Tl’esqox Chief Francis Laceese, Alexis Creek First Nation Chief Otis Guichon Sr. and newly-elected Xeni Gwet’in Chief Jimmy Lulua sat in front of Trudeau in a circle on chairs.

The request to sit on the floor of the House Of commons was made by the Tsilhqot’in Nation and endorsed unanimously by all 338 Members of Parliament and the Speaker of the House.

Having the chiefs sitting there followed Tsilhqot’in protocol and was historic and unprecedented.

When Trudeau finished his speech people gathered in the Gibraltar Room applauded and uttered their appreciation.

When youth ambassador Peyal Laceese entered the House of Commons to sing and drum on the floor, back in Williams Lake the people gathered in the Gibraltar Room stood up to honour him as well.

Many of the men in the Gibraltar Room removed their hats while others took the opportunity to capture the moment on their cell phones.

Outside the House of Commons during a media scrum, Alphonse said the exoneration follows on the heels of the Tsilhqot’in rights and title win in the Supreme Court of Canada in 2014.

“It has been a long time for our nation —154 years,” Alphonse said. “For too long we’ve suffered,” he told reporters.

Alphonse said there are too many Tsilhqot’in children in care, too many people in poverty, and too many people incarcerated.

“It’s time to change that.”

Conservative Kamloops Thompson Cariboo MP Cathy McLeod, speaking after the apology, said the exoneration cannot fix the past, but can recognize the lasting and profound impact that former actions have and the scars that have not been healed.

“We join with the apology and recognition today to acknowledge how a shared history can create understanding and co-operation for the future,” McLeod said.

 

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau rises in the House of Commons to deliver the exoneration speech, while the six present day Tsilhqo’tin Chiefs sit in front of him in a circle, shown here are Tl’esqox Chief Francis Laceese, Tl’etinqox Chief and Tsilhqot’in National Government Tribal Chair Joe Alphonse and Alexis Creek First Nation Chief Otis Guichon Sr. Adam Scotti photo

Just Posted

Geotechnical drilling planned for hospital upgrades next week

The extent will include about nine drilled holes, including in the parking lot

Prolific offender will serve federal time for 2018 New Year’s Day stabbing

Blake Bobby Johnny was sentenced three years, with credit of 522 days time-served

Still no bus service

Others businesses are attempting to fill the void left with the discontinuation of Greyhound

Ulkatcho First Nation popular health challenge underway

Health director Cristina Tallio said the challenge will run for nine weeks

BC Rural Dividend gives $200,000 to continue wildfire recovery in Williams Lake

Sugar Cane Development Corporation and Cariboo Chilcotin Tourism Association to benefit

New Canada Food Guide nixes portion sizes, promotes plant-based proteins

Guide no longer lists milk and dairy products as a distinct food group

Canadian navy plans to extend life of submarines

The fleet has turned a corner after a troubled start

Cannabis-carrying border crossers could be hit with fines under coming system

Penalties are slated to be in place some time next year

Man accused of threatening to kill ‘as many girls as I see’

Christopher W. Cleary wrote he was angry because he’d never had a girlfriend and wanted to ‘make it right’ with a mass shooting

Canadian talent abound on newly revamped Vancouver Whitecaps squad

Lineup is full of new faces after the organization parted ways with 18 players over the off-season

B.C. Green leader calls for long-term legislature financial audit

Andrew Weaver says trust in clerk and sergeant at arms is gone

No charges in fatal police Taser incident in B.C.

RCMP watchdog concludes no evidence of excessive or disproportionate force was used by officers

Here’s what the B.C. legislature officers are accused of buying with taxpayers’ money

Personal trips, purchases, alcohol and more laid out in 76-page report by Plecas

Alberta youth charged over theft of $17,000 in snow equipment at B.C. ski resort

Alberta RCMP recovered $17,000 in skis/snowboards believed stolen from Fernie Alpine Resort Saturday

Most Read