In 2014, British Columbia exonerated six Tsilhqot’in leaders hanged in 1864/65. The Premier acknowledged that these men had been martyred, among other things, for defending their territory from settlers spreading smallpox intentionally.
This book shows that those same settlers repeatedly and systematically created artificial epidemics in Nuxalk territory. Eyewitnesses reported a sudden catastrophic population collapse exceeding 70 percent of all the People. Thousands died within just nine months.
Through the documentary record, responsibility for this intentional mass killing can be traced to the administration of Governor James Douglas and especially to Attorney General George Cary. Cary led a group of speculators seeking interests in these territories.
This tragedy gave birth to the modern Nuxalk Nation. It also allowed B.C. to occupy this territory with little other violence, to impose British institutions without consent and to assert control over the resources still collectively owned by the survivors.
Nuxalk and Tsilhqot’in Elders have always taught that these mass killings were genocide. This book shows that the same conclusion can be proven through the written record.
Where the indigenous voice includes sincere accounts of genocide, reconciliation between Canada and its indigenous hosts requires that this telling must be honored. Perhaps this work may serve as some contribution toward a more unified account of Canada’s founding.