Tom Swanky gives smallpox presentation in Williams Lake, February, 2010.

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. Settlers did import smallpox. And they introduced it to kill native communities using smallpox as a biological weapon.

As background to a documentary film, we prepared a PowerPoint outlining this history. We have been sharing it with interested native communities in the Interior. A capacity crowd came to the February presentation at the Gibraltar Room in Williams Lake sponsored by the Tsilhqot’in. We were back in Williams Lake for the Northern Shuswap in May.

– Shawn

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