The story of the Chilcotin War and the Silver Tray

In this Gold Rush Trail storyteller series episode, we are introduced to the Curator of History at the Royal BC Museum, Dr. Lorne Hammond. Here, he tells us the tragic history of a gold rush era silver tray from the museum’s silver collection. In 1864 the Chilcotin War erupted after British colonials tried to force a wagon road through Tŝilhqot’in Territory to reach the Cariboo goldfields. Despite the deep wounds and broken trust that the war left on the Tŝilhqot’in people, the British colonials celebrated the event by presenting the chief of police and the two leaders of the road project with sterling silver presentation tea sets. Sometime after the 1930s, the tray was donated to the Royal BC Museum, but the silver tray was not displayed for decades due to the suppression and injustice it symbolized. After many court cases and demands for justice, the Tŝilhqot’in peoples finally received a formal apology and in 2018 the Government of Canada officially exonerated the six Tsilhqot’in War Chiefs who were wrongfully arrested, tried and hanged during the Chilcotin War of 1864/65. Each year the Tsilhqot’in National Government holds Lhats’asʔin Memorial Day on October 26 to commemorate and remember the sacrifices made by the six Tŝilhqot’in War Chiefs of 1864/65. For more information please visit….