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Niagara Catholic Regional Fair
The Forgotten Warriors of 1812
The Forgotten Warriors of 1812 highlights the valuable contributions the Indigenous warriors made to the British and the War of 1812. My project looks at Tecumseh, a Shawnee warrior who rallied an aboriginal alliance with the British against American expansion. Also highlighted is the specific roles the aboriginals played in the victories in the Battle of Queenston Heights and the surrender of Fort Detroit.
What was the most interesting thing you learned about your topic?
I learned that the Battle of Queenston Heights was a turning point in the war. The Indigenous people, under John Norton did not give up after the fall of Isaac Brock, but rather planned a counter attack which caused the American militia to refuse to cross the river. This victory made colonists believe that the British could defend against an American invasion.
What important lessons have you learned that you want to share with other Canadians?
I have learned that the boundaries of our country today are largely because of the courage, loyalty and tactical strategies of First Nations people. If the war was to have been fought on an open battle field, the Americans had more men and could have easily won. I think it is important for Canadians to recognize the First Nations efforts in the war and understand that those who help others are the biggest winners of all. I think the First Nations warriors were the most noble of all those who fought, because they fought to the end for what they believed in.
How would you compare your life today to the lives of those studied in your project?
I live in a country free from an American invasion where the boundaries and freedoms of being a Canadian are defined. The First Nations people in my project had to fight to defend their land, and in the end, had nothing. Today they have a voice within the government, and have a formal process to declare and resolve land claims disputes. I think that Indigenous people have been disputing various land claims for hundreds of years, but how issues are resolved has changed for the better.