We do not know his name: Klatsassin and the Chilcotin War

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Testimony of Ach-pic-er-mous

British Columbia to Wit

Before C. Brew one of Her Majesty’s justices of the peace for said colony.

The information of Ach-pic-er-mous a [Nicountlin?] Indian who being duly cautioned to tell the truth the whole truth and nothing but the truth states. I remember the time that Alick McDonald’s party was attacked and plundered near Sutless and Alick and Higgins and McDougald killed. Three days previous to the attack Klattassin with five of his Taikla Indians came to our camp at Sutless in the evening. Anaheim and his party had that morning started for Bella Coola. Klattassin began making presents to the Indians in our camp. Ahans father asked Klattassin what brought him and his men there armed. He said at that time that he had only come to make them presents but the next day he said that Alick McDonald had brought the smallpox to Benshee and that the white men at Bute Inlet road had done bad things to them, that they were angry at Klattassin’s men for stealing and that one of them said that to punish them next “warm” he would send the smallpox amongst them. Klattassin said that in consequence he had killed the whitemen at Bute Inlet and that he was resolved to kill all the whitemen he could find.

There were five Sutless Indians in the camp at the time - Ahan, his father, Lutas, Teechit and myself. Ahan at once said it would be a good thing to do so and after some hesitation Lutas and Teechit agreed. Ahan’s father and I objected. I forgot another Sutless Indian who was present and agreed to join Klattassin, [Tineatineu?], the man who wounded Alick McDonald and was shot by him. There were several other Indians joined afterwards amongst the rest [Tom?] and another Indian who had been employed by Alick McDonald. The next day Alick McDonald’s train arrived. Klattassin and his men were going over to his camp and Ahan’s father asked them why they were blackening their faces - he knew by that that they were going to fight. Ahan’s father went over to Alick’s camp with Klattassin and he told Alick that Klattassin and his men intended killing him and his companions. Klattassin upon this quitted Alick’s camp without attempting anything. Alick said that he was determined to go on to Benshee and Klattassin and his men went out on the trail towards Benshee to lie in ambush for him and his party. I went and told Alick and I advised him not to move out of his entrenched camp till Anaheim returned when he would be safe, but instead of doing so he attempted to return to Bella Coola.

Klattassin was informed in some way that Alick’s party had turned back so Klattassin’s party passed through the forest and headed them and lay in wait for them. I was anxious to warn Alick but I was afraid of Klattassin. I would not fire at the white men so I kept back. When I heard the firing I went on to where it took place and there I saw McDonald, Higgins and McDougald dead. Ahan was standing over McDougald’s body in a very excited state. He said that he had shot McDougald in the stomach and that Lutas, who was present, had fired at his head and missed him. Lutas said it was so. Ahan called me a coward and woman for not firing he said if I had done so there would be more white men dead.

After the murders Klattassin as chief of the party claimed all the plunder and he then divided it amongst the Indians in proportion to the part each took in the attack. He called me a woman and gave me only a few worn things. Klattassin only remained one day, he was away before Anaheim returned. If Anaheim at been at home the murder would not have been committed but Ahan’s father had no power to prevent it. Although he did all he could to dissuade Klattassin from the attack. The first Anaheim knew of what occurred was seeing the murdered men’s bodies on the trail. He then met me and asked about it. I told him, he asked me had I any hand in it. I said not, he replied I am glad of that. Before Anaheim returned all the Sutless Indians who were engaged in the murders had gone away.

Ach-pic-er-mous X
his mark

Taken before us this 31st day of May 1865

C. Brew
C. Prichard

Maurice Moss
Interpreter and Witness

Source: BCA, H.P.P. Crease: Legal Papers 1853-1895, Add. Mss - 54 box 3, file 12, Supreme Court of New Westminster, Testimony of Ach-pic-er-mous, May 31, 1865, 1604-1605-1600.

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