NEW WESTMINSTER (NEWS 1130) – The figure of a B.C. Judge involved in the hanging of six First Nations chiefs may soon be removed from its home in New Westminster.
The City is set to consider removing the statue of Judge Matthew Begbie from in front of its Provincial Courthouse at a council meeting Monday evening.
The move is in the name of reconciliation, and wouldn’t be the first time a statue of the controversial figure has come down.
Their motion adds “the execution of the six Tsilhqot’in Chiefs changed the relationship and was used as a threat to all Indigenous peoples attempting to defend their land.”
A lot of my BC geo/history classes have come in handy since I became a journo. Today, I get to nerd out and tell you why two @New_Westminster councillors want to see a statue of Judge Matthew Begbie removed from the provincial courthouses #reconciliation #BCPoli @NEWS1130 pic.twitter.com/xJ9B9BxNlr
— Ash Kelly (@AshDKelly) May 6, 2019
It also says the city would work with the museum and archives, as well as with the Tsilhqot’in people, to find a new home for it.
The province has already apologized and exonerated the six Tsilhqot’in Chiefs, sentenced to death in 1864 and 1865, and the prime minister apologized to the First Nation for the hangings in November.
The law society of B.C. removed a statue of Begbie from its lobby about two years ago.
The bronze statue that stands in front of the Provincial Courthous
e sits in the area named Begbie Square, and was sculpted by Ellek Imreddy. It was commissioned by lawyers and judges associated with the New Westminster Bar association, the city says on its website, and has been described as a “landmark feature of the plaza.”
It’s unclear if the plaza would be renamed.
Begbie presided over the case of the six chiefs when their First Nation was at war with the Colony of British Columbia in the early 1860s.