Tŝilhqot’in and City of New Westminster Commemorate War Hero

New Westminster, B.C.: The Tŝilhqot’in National Government, in partnership with the City of New Westminster, is commemorating the wrongful hanging of War Chief ʔAhan from the Chilcotin War of 1864́/65. Today marks 157 years to the day since Nits’ilʔin ʔAhan was wrongfully arrested under a flag of truce and hanged in New Westminster.

Tŝilhqot’in leaders have gathered in New Westminster along with members of the New Westminster City Council and other City officials to commemorate this day. In 2018, the City identified the need to assist the Tŝilhqot’in Nation in memorializing Chief ʔAhan’s execution. This annual event has provided an opportunity to recognize the injustice that took place and pay respect to the deep history of the Tŝilhqot’in Nation.

On October 15, 2020, the Sister Community Memorandum of Agreement was signed between the Tŝilhqot’in National Government and the City of New Westminster. The agreement recognizes and signifies the committment between both parties to support one another.

“War Nits’ilʔin ʔAhan was the sixth Nits’ilʔin to be hanged by the colonial government at the
time. 157 years wasn’t that long ago. Our collective memory of the Chilcotin War has a very
strong place in who we are as a people and our responsibility to further out rights and title.
Nits’ilʔin ʔAhan was a hero working to protect his people from the wrongful taking of our lands
and the threat of smallpox. We were here today to remember those sacrifices.”

— Nits’ilʔin (Chief) Joe Alphonse, O.B.C, Tŝilhqot’in National Government

“As the City of New Westminster continues to come to terms with our history, we are
committed to meaningful reconciliation with local First Nations and the urban Indigenous community, as well as with Indigenous peoples affected by our colonial past. We’re grateful to the Tŝilhqot’in Nation for joining us on our path toward reconciliation. New Westminster is
honoured to continue building our friendship with Tŝilhqot’in Nation, which was previously
formalized by the Sister Community agreement.” 

— Mayor Jonathan Coté, City of New Westminster

Corry Williams
Communications Manager
Tŝilhqot’in National Government
(250) 267-6188

Melissa Nilan
Communications Coordinator
City of New Westminster
(604) 515 3808