The Native American War
For Native Americans, the War of 1812 was a desperate struggle for freedom and independence.
Native Americans became involved in the conflict to secure British support for their own war against the United States. Led by Tecumseh, they played a key role in defending Canada. However an American victory at the battle of the Thames in October 1813 led to Tecumseh’s death and the break-up of his Native American coalition. For Native Americans, the outcome of the war was a catastrophe – they were never again able to find external allies or threaten to roll back the American frontier.
“Here is a chance presented to us; yes, such as will never occur again, for us Indians of North America to form ourselves into one great combination, and cast our lot with the British in this war.”— Tecumseh, Native American leader, 1812
“The history of the role of the First Nations... in the War of 1812 is just as much about building what would later become the nation of Canada as it is about the solidifying of Canadian identity ....”— The War of 1812: The Dakota Nation’s Contribution to Defending Canada, published by the Whitecap Dakota First Nation, June 2011
“I wish we had Tecumseh here to help us out of our difficulties.”— John Askin, Canadian settler, 4 June 1813