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Ottawa, May 27 (Canadian-Media): Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau apologized Mar 26 and absolved the Tsilhqot'in leaders of any wrongdoing more than 150 years after six B.C. First Nations chiefs were hanged by colonial authorities, media reports said.
The current leaders of the Tsilhqot'in Nation their traditional territory in British Columbia's central interior region were reportedly gathered on the floor of the parliamentary chamber while Trudeau delivered the apology Monday in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on March 26, 2018.
"For generations of Tsilhqot'in youth, the first story they learn is of the historic betrayal by the British colonial government that led to the hanging of six of the nation's leaders, says Chief Joe Alphonse.
"Reconciliation starts here. Ground zero. Tsilhqot'in. This is where it starts," Alphonse said, describing the apology as "a giant step."
"Canada has a chance and opportunity to be a role model to all countries with Indigenous people. That's what this is about, a new way of doing things, a better way of doings things, that includes all of us."
"We recognize that these six chiefs were leaders of a nation, that they acted in accordance with their laws and traditions and that they are well regarded as heroes of their people," Trudeau said.
"They acted as leaders of a proud and independent nation facing the threat of another nation."
Trudeau then reportedly hugged a drummer and continued,
"As settlers came to the land in the rush for gold, no consideration was given to the rights of the Tsilhqot'in people who were there first," Trudeau said. "No consent was sought."
Members of parliament (MP)s in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa applaused while Trudeau read his speech and prompting the Tsilhqot'in chiefs to hold up eagle feathers in salute.
Canadian government's authority to execute the six chiefs as criminals, describing the confrontation as an altercation between warring nations had reportedly been disputed for a long time by the Tsilhqot'in.
Trudeau reportedly said that he understood that apologies cannot alone undo wrongs of the past, but he said that apologies an important part of reconciliation in renewing Canada's relationship with Indigenous people.
"If we're to move forward with the federal government, we need to tell this right and start with the truth. It's an emotional day for many of us," Chief Russell Myers was reported to state.
(Reporting by Asha Bajaj)