- Format: HD video (1080p)
- File Type: mp4
- Length: 56 minutes
- File Size: 1.54 GB
Did British Columbia natives lose control of their territories through an ethnic cleansing exercise in which settlers deliberately spread smallpox in 1862 to kill them, as many elders teach? Can this teaching be confirmed by a rigorous examination of the written record?
In “Smallpox in The Chilcotin War”, Tom Swanky, author of The True Story of Canada's “War” of Extermination on the Pacific, shows how violence broke out in June 1862 as Tsilhqot'in communities engaged smallpox spreading parties. One eye-witness estimated that 5000 Tsilhqot'in died from settlers introducing the disease in less than a year. Ultimately this violence culminated in the battle to prevent smallpox along the Bute Inlet corridor in April 1862, the ambush of Tsilhqot'in delegates to a Peace Conference with the Governor in August 1864 and the mass hanging of the Tsilhqot'in Chiefs in October 1864. This presentation is one of the rare times that discussion of this pivotal event in B.C. history has been informed with a First Nation's perspective.
Tom Swanky has presented “Smallpox in The Chilcotin War” at universities, libraries, community centres and healing circles across British Columbia.