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The Chilcotin War: A Tale of Death and Reprisal

The Chilcotin War presents the core facts of a 19th-century conflict. Colonial society is portrayed and Waddington’s new route to the Barkerville goldfields, via Bute Inlet and across the Chilcotin Plateau, circumventing the treacherous Fraser Canyon area, is described. The Chilcotin people had been weakened by the smallpox epidemic, and they were hungry. The road builders treated the Aboriginal people disrespectfully. This led to the violent episode that took place in the spring of 1864 when some Chilcotin attacked and killed 19 people. Eventually the perpetrators were captured, tried and executed in the fall of 1864. The author explores the reasons why those actions occurred. He shows where mistakes were made and why erroneous assumptions led to escalation from anger to mass murder.

Source: The Association of Book Publishers of BC. BC Books for BC Schools. 2010-2011.

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