Chief Joe Alphonse looks out on B.C.'s Farwell Canyon.

Tsilhqot’in Chief Alphonse talks 1864 hangings, court victory (VIDEO)

Alphonse says his once 'war-like' nation is still fighting for its land, but the battlefield has turned into courtrooms, paper, and pen.



Tsilhqot’in Chief Joe Alphonse talks turning a historical corner in the video above, now that his nation has received a Supreme Court ruling in its favour and a formal apology from B.C. Premier Christy Clark, for the 1864 hangings of six Tsilhqot’in warriors in Quesnel.

Clark apologized at Victoria’s legislature last week (October 23, 2014) and Alphonse spoke with The Canadian Press in the video above at B.C.’s Farwell Canyon, which Alphonse called “the heart of our territory”.

“The first thing we learn as Tsilhqot’in people is what happened to our warriors, and the betrayal,” said Alphonse. “In war, you lose warriors but the way in which they handled that, we were honourable people and under a flag of truth we were told to come in and talk and have peace talks… we went in, we put our weapons down. Our warriors went in, they were betrayed, and that was a very, very tough lesson.

“We were war-like people. We fought for our land. You know, it’s the same today. That battle still went on, but we don’t go to a battlefield. Our battlefield switched to a courtroom. It’s on paper, it’s using pen and technology like that, laws.”

Video: The Canadian Press