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Tsilhqot’in Nation pleased with removal of “hanging judge” statue

The Tsilhqot’in Nation has commended the Law Society of B.C. for its removal of a controversial statue of a controversial historical judge from its lobby.

Judge Matthew Begbie wrongly convicted six Tsilhqot’in War Chiefs in 1864, sentencing them to death by hanging.

In a news release, Chief Joe Alphonse of the Tsilhqot’in National Government lauds the action, saying the Law Society is right to admit past mistakes and get rid of a monument to injustice and B.C.’s colonial past.

“The Tsilhqot’in Nation honours our War Chiefs Lhats’as?in, Biyil, Tilaghed, Taged, Chayses and Ahan for their courage and sacrifice. They were heroes who defended their territory and traditional way of life against a foreign aggressor. In this time of truth and reconciliation, Indigenous history and experiences can no longer be ignored.”

The Law Society announced plans for the statue’s removal in April, saying it planned to replacement the monument with something more unifying.

In 2014 the B.C. Premier, with unanimous support from all political parties, apologized for the wrongful arrest, trial and hanging of the six Chiefs and fully exonerated them of any crime or wrongdoing, to the extent of the province’s power.

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