THUNDER BAY – Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) Deputy Grand Chief Mike Metatawabin will join other First Nation leaders from across Ontario today, in a commemorative procession honouring First Nation involvement in the War of 1812.
More than 10,000 First Nation warriors were instrumental in the preservation of Upper and Lower Canada, as they fought as British Allies. The First Nations considered the outbreak of war as a chance to stop the loss of their lands and the westward expansion of the Americans. Canada then consisted of the maritime colonies and parts of southern Quebec and Ontario.
In Canada, the War of 1812 was the end of an era in which the First Nations had been able to keep their positions in return for service in war. Soon, with the growth of Upper Canada, the First Nations were outnumbered in their own lands. It was almost forgotten that if not for their support, Upper Canada might very well have fallen into American hands.
“We must remember our brothers and sisters that helped fight for Aboriginal rights and shape Canada into what it is today,” said NAN Deputy Grand Chief Mike Metatawabin. “First Nations stood to lose the most in this conflict. Warriors, chiefs and powerful leaders all struggled to maintain their communities and cultures rooted in the diverse landscapes of North America. We must honour and commemorate them to teach our children how our ancestors sacrificed their lives and homelands to preserve our traditional way of life.”
The procession is taking in place in Toronto, beginning at David Crombie Park, at 1:45PM. The group will walk to Fort York with a brief stop at the intersection of Lower Jarvis and Front Street to unveil a commemorative street sign to honour our fallen warriors.
For more information on the history of First Nation contribution in the War of 1812, please visit www.eighteentwelve.ca.