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“Even the churches of the Indians will be burned” → 

Posted on 7 March 2015

Thanks to an article by Frank Peebles (one worth reading), I was able to find this front-page Fort George Herald story from September 6, 1913, about the burning of the Lheidli T’enneh village. What astounds me is how it is both incredibly frank about what is going down (“the torch of the white men will be thrust into the remaining houses and the village will disappear quietly in a cloud of smoke”) and at the same time, so celebratory (this is being done “for the purposes of the dominant race which has purchased their reserve for the future site of a great city”).

See Also: Burn Your Village to the Ground: 100 Years Since Lheidli Edition

Here are the opening paragraphs, you can read the original here:

“INDIANS ARE MOVING TO THEIR NEW HOMES

“Demolition of Old Village Is Now Under Way—Indians Still Owners of Much Valuable Land Hereabouts

“The old Indian village, a few hundred yards up the Fraser river from this town, will soon be a mass of smoldering ruins. Already the houses at the north end of the village have been burned to the ground to give way to the utilization of the land upon which they have stood for years gone by, for the purposes of the dominant race which has purchased their reserve for the future site of a great city.

“Most of the Indians have already evacuated their houses and have gone to their new, bright, ready-made village erected for them on the Goose country reservation fifteen miles up the Fraser from this point. The remaining Indians will move an soon as the steamer Quesnel can be secured to take their chattels to the new locations. Home are going to reserve No. 3, at Duck Lake, about 12 miles up the Nechako river.

“With the departure of the last of the tribe from their old haunts here, the torch of the white men will be thrust into the remaining houses and the village will disappear quietly in a cloud of smoke and sparks. Even the churches of the Indians will be burned, the sacred ornaments and the bell dedicated to their missionary priests being removed to the beautiful church on reserve No. 2. “

By the way, this article makes frequent reference to the land having been purchased and this being a good deal around. I’ve had conversations with a number of local historians and the validity of the deal is iffy at best and out-and-out non-existent at worst.

Again, you should also read Frank Peebles’ article about this here, and here’s a production I made for CBC Radio:

listen to ‘The burning of the Lheidli T’enneh village’ on audioBoom

Filed under: Prince George

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