The Métis and the War of 1812

Historians generally portray the causes of the War of 1812 as originating outside of Canada’s borders, but this has not prevented Canadians from viewing the repulsion of the American invasions of 1812-14 as the foundation of modern Canada. Due to its conflict with Napoleon, Britain could only provide a small contingent of troops to defend Canada, and these troops by themselves would surely have failed without the support of the Métis, First Nations and local Canadian militias. The spirited defence of Canada by all these groups contributed to a distinctive Canadian identity, but until very recently, Métis contributions during the War of 1812 have not been well known or recognized.

The articles in this section each highlight some of the contributions of Métis during the War of 1812. In the summer of 2012, several students who were part of the MNO Summer Youth Program participated in a historical re-enactment of one of the battles during the War of 1812.  These students represented Métis who were involved in the war. These students produced a video documenting their experience. Click here to view the video. The Métis involvement in the War of 1812 is an example of how the Métis, along with First Nations and European newcomers, are among Canada’s founding peoples. The stories about the role of our ancestors “in the defence of Canada” during the War of 1812 must be remembered.