10/26/2014 05:04 EDT | Updated 12/26/2014 05:59 EST

Tsilhqot'in chiefs hanging remembered at special B.C. ceremony

An aboriginal chief from central B.C. says a ceremony Sunday marking the 150th anniversary of the hanging of six warrior chiefs is his Remembrance Day.

Tsilhqot'in Nation Chief Joe Alphonse says the chiefs gave his people their identity.

About 200 people are gathered in the Cariboo gold rush town of Quesnel at the site where five of the chiefs were hanged on Oct. 26, 1864, during what is known as the Chilcotin War.

The sixth was hanged in New Westminster.

Attempts by the colony of British Columbia to build a road to the gold fields were met with resistance and 20 non-aboriginals died.

B.C. Premier Christy Clark exonerated the chiefs in the legislature this week, though she did not appear at today's ceremony due to weather conditions.