Chilcotin Plateau
The Chilcotin Plateau is on the territory of the Tŝilhqot'in peoples, also known as the people of the red river.1 The Chilcotin Plateau lies between the Fraser River and the Coast Mountains in west-central British Columbia, and includes the majority of the drainage of the Chilcotin River and the headwaters of the Homathko, Klinklini, and Dean Rivers.2 The plateau was created by a volcanic eruption in the late Miocene.3
During the latter half of the 19th century, the Chilcotin Plateau was a landscape of resistance, violence, and tragedy.4 One of the most notable events to take place on this territory was the Chilcotin War. In 1864, a group of Tŝilhqot'in individuals led by Lhatŝ'aŝʔin attacked and killed 14 men who were working on the Bute Inlet Road construction.5 The trials of the accused took place in Quesnel in September 1864.6 Judge Begbie sentenced Lhatŝ'aŝʔin and four other Tŝilhqot'in men to death in October 1864, and a sixth man in 1865.7
In 2018, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau exonerated the Tŝilhqot'in men who were hanged, stating that they were treated and tried as criminals in an era where both the colonial government and the legal process did not respect the inherent rights of the Tŝilhqot'in people.8
Today, newcomers to the Chilcotin say that it is like going back in time.9 The local economy depends on cattle farming, logging, and mining.10 The Chilcotin Plateau has long been a site of land-use conflicts, which continue, today, as the Tŝilhqot'in people battle against resource extraction on their lands.11
Mentions of this place in the documents