Ot-cha-wun (Otcheewan, Ah-chee-wum, Acheewun)
d. 1863-06-04
Ot-cha-wun was a Lamalcha (now known as the Hwlitsum First Nation; their village was located on Kuper Island) man and the brother of Sha-na-sa-luk. He was charged with manslaughter for killing a British serviceman, Charles Gliddon, during the Lamalcha war, when the HMS Forward exchanged fire with Lamalcha villagers while searching for several suspected murderers.1
Ot-cha-wun fled capture with Sha-na-sa-luk and Qual-a-tutlm. The crew, under Commander Pike, allegedly beat and detained Ot-cha-wun's father-in-law Sha-tu-wish, uncle Klle-sa-luk and wife Salley who then divulged the location of the fugitives. E. Hardinge, Commander of the HMS Chameleon led a mission to find the men and captured them on Galiano Island.2
Ot-cha-wun, Sha-na-su-luk and Qual-a-tutlm were tried at the Assizes held on 24 June 1863. Ot-cha-wun was vilified in newspapers as the chief pirate leader of the three men and the great pirate robber. The trial became a large controversy, as the men were provided with no legal council, and the trials were translated using chinook jargon, a language too simple to translate complex British legal terms. Ot-cha-wun claimed he never fired at the Forward; this claim was supported by eyewitnesses who testified in court. Nevertheless, the jury presented a guilty verdict, recommending mercy. The three men were sentenced to death, as a warning to other First Nations people to not rebel.3 One hundred and fifty citizens of Victoria signed a petition to commute the death sentence, due to the unjust way their trial had been conducted.4 The men were hung for the murder of Gliddon on 4 July in front of the Victoria police barracks.5
  • 1. Arnett, Chris. 1999. The Terror of the Coast: Land Alienation and Colonial War on Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands, 1849-1863. Burnaby, B.C.: Talonbooks, 133-136.
  • 2. Ibid., 244-247.
  • 3. Ibid., 281-287.
  • 4. Ibid., 239-240.
  • 5. Ibid., 303-304.
Mentions of this person in the documents