In 2012, the provincial government finally apologized for the wrongful hanging of two men from the Hesquiaht First Nation, John Anietsachist and KatKinna, in 1869.
The story of their fate—Anietsachist, who composed a song about his innocence while on the gallows, and KatKinna, a simple man whose history has been lost—so moved composer Brent Straughan that he wrote a quartet conveying his feelings.
“The more I read, the more I researched, the more upsetting it was,” Straughan said.
“This is my kind of apology. It’s a musical reconciliation journey for all of us,” he said.
The DieMahler String Quartet will perform Straughan’s piece in the presence of 200 descendants of the two hanged men this Friday, Nov. 27 at the Alberni Valley United Church from 2:30–4:50 p.m.
Justin Lucas, the great-great-great grandson of Anietsachist, will perform the actual chant that has been handed down through generations. Mezzo-soprano Dawna Beach will also sing during the performance.