The “Hanging Judge” statue was removed from outside of New Westminster’s courthouse over the weekend.
The controversial figure belonged to Judge Matthew Begbie, who served as British Columbia’s first chief justice. He’s also known, however, as the judge who oversaw the wrongful hangings of six Indigenous chiefs.
In 1864, he presided over a trial that resulted in the wrongful hangings of five Tsilhqot’in Nation chiefs in Quesnelle.
A year later, in 1865, Tsilhqot’in Chief Ahan was also wrongfully hanged in New Westminster.
“When we defend this history we are defending the rights of the colonial narrative to be the only perspective that’s told,” Nakagawa said in a council meeting last May. “We are resisting what is in face decentering the patriarchal colonial narrative.”
Nakagawa also added that in 2017, Tsilhqot’in chiefs in BC called for all namesakes of Begbie to be removed.
“In conversation with Indigenous people in our community, I’ve heard that the presence of the statue hurts them. Why don’t we listen?”
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With files from Simran Singh