The Government of Canada and the Tsilhqot’in Nation Announce Intent to Offer Posthumous Exonerations to Six Tsilhqot’in Chiefs


OTTAWA, ONTARIO (November 3, 2017) – The Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs, Carolyn Bennett, and Chief Joe Alphonse issued the following statement today:

“On October 26th, the Government of Canada and the Tsilhqot’in Nation took an important step towards achieving commitments set out in a Letter of Understanding with the Tsilhqot’in Nation regarding the posthumous exoneration of six Tsilhqot’in Chiefs.
Among the Tsilhqot’in people, October 26th stands as a day of commemoration of the deaths of the Tsilhqot’in chiefs who, in the Spring of 1864, led the Tsilhqot’in war effort in response to a colonial road crew attempting to build a road through Tsilhqot’in territory without the agreement of the Tsilhqot’in Nation. Six of these chiefs were tried, convicted and hanged for murder.

Canada has embarked on a journey of reconciliation with Indigenous peoples. As we build a new future, reconciliation requires addressing Canada’s history and developing with Indigenous people a more thorough accounting of our past.  

Canada recognizes and acknowledges this shared history and, as a symbolic gesture of reconciliation will be moving forward to offer a statement of exoneration for the six Chiefs. These six chiefs were leaders of a nation and are well-regarded as heroes by their people.

The posthumous exoneration of six leaders of the Tsilhqot’in Nation will stand as an important symbol of the Government of Canada’s commitment to reconciliation. It is our sincere hope that the planned exoneration of Head War Chief Klatsassin, Chief Biyil, Chief Tilaghed, Chief Taqued, Chief Chayses and Chief Ahan of the Tsilhqot’in Nation will allow healing to begin as Canada and the Tsilhqot’in Nation embark on a new journey towards reconciliation together.”

For more information, media may contact:

Sabrina Williams
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Carolyn Bennett

INAC Media Relations
Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada

Graham Gillies, Communications Manager and Strategic Initiatives,
Tsilhqot’in National Government - Negotiations and External Affairs
778-799-2145 (ext. 2242)

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