Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is set to exonerate six First Nations chiefs who were executed by British Columbia’s colonial government more than 150 years ago.
Trudeau’s itinerary says he will “deliver a statement of exoneration” for the Tsilhqot’in chiefs in the House of Commons at 3 p.m.
The warriors were hanged following a deadly confrontation with white road builders during the so-called “Chilcotin War of 1864.”
After the workers were killed, five chiefs arrived at what they believed would be peace talks with government representatives. Instead, they were arrested, tried and hanged, and a sixth chief was executed the following year in New Westminster.
The Tsilhqot’in have long disputed the government’s authority to execute the six chiefs as criminals, describing the confrontation as an altercation between warring nations.
The B.C. government apologized for the executions in 1993 and installed a commemorative plaque at the site of the hangings.
Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett is scheduled to hold a press conference alongside the Tsilhqot’in Nation leadership today in Ottawa following the official exoneration.