The Métis were fighting for Canada, before there was a Canada

The Government of Canada has stated that the War of 1812 was crucial to the formation of Canada. This being the case, the Métis are also essential to Canada’s existence because in the War of 1812, the Métis were fighting for Canada, before there was a Canada. The Métis contributions during the War of 1812 placed us in the crucible that formed Canada and further affirmed our role as one of the founding peoples of this great nation.

The following feature in the Métis Voyageur highlights some of the many contributions of the Métis during the War of 1812. While by no means does it represent everything the Métis did in the War (that would require, at least, an entire book) it does highlight some of the more well-known aspects of our involvement. In truth, much more research is required to explore Métis history in Ontario in general and in the War of 1812 in particular, before the full story of the Métis in Ontario can be appreciated.

I am pleased that in some of the upcoming commemorations, Métis contributions will be recognized. Most notably, the Métis Nation of Ontario will be invited to help plan a Government of Canada ceremony taking place this summer in Ottawa that will recognize the vital contributions and sacrifices of Aboriginal people during the War of 1812. At this ceremony, commemorative War of 1812 medals will be distributed. Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO) citizens, including Region 4 Provisional Council of the MNO (PCMNO) Councillor, Art Bennett, have been involved in the plans of Algoma 1812, which will include the re-enactment of the events surrounding the seizure of Fort Mackinac at the start of the war—events in which the Métis played a pivotal role.

The MNO is also putting the finishing touches on its own plans to commemorate Métis involvement in the War of 1812. The War of 1812 lasted until 1814, so the MNO is not limiting itself to 2012 in its activities. Look forward to more War of 1812 themed activities from the MNO in the near future and during the next two years.

The War of 1812 is an important part of Ontario Métis history and I would encourage all MNO citizens to take part in commemorations and celebrations this summer. Take pride in your Métis heritage and don’t be shy about reminding people of the Métis role in this conflict, especially if you notice that it has been overlooked. Our heroic contributions to the defence of Canada must not be forgotten!