This year marks the 146th anniversary of the hanging of the Tsilhqot’in Chiefs. A day of remembrance for the Tsilhqot’in. Yet the public actions of Tsilhqot’in leaders of that time contain examples of greatness and nobility worthy of honor and remembrance by everyone. In keeping with this spirit, I will break from composing the documentary and attend the formal ceremony.
Two nations. Occupying the same land. Separated by an invisible wall. A wall nevertheless as certain as bricks and mortar. So a Xatsull elder once described it to me. The Tsilhqot’in Chiefs’ Memorial recognizes this bi-jurisdictional reality in a small way. I discovered the reality for myself at a Tsilhqot’in function this spring.
I began by visiting the Tsilhqot’in Chief’s memorial. To remember, at first, all those who died. Tsilhqot’in or otherwise. The Tsilhqot’in have a central role in this story but it affects all British Columbia natives. Yet this marker, hidden away at Quesnel, is the only one I know of touching victims of the 1862 genocide.
Steel doors slam shut! Our hero is trapped! A few short moments ago, he was a raging tsunami of martial arts power. Now, he patiently sits. Accepting defeat. Powerless against his fate. You have never seen a hero like this. Nor had the thousands who left the theatre resolving to learn the martial arts. To improve their fate. Welcome to Enter the Dragon. One of the most motivational movies ever.
Many B.C. native elders believe settlers deliberately spread smallpox in 1862 as a means of overthrowing their governments. And for seizing their land without paying or making treaties. The official B.C. history is different. However, while researching the Tsilhqot’in War for a movie, my father and I discovered the proof, almost by accident, that the native story is right.