While there is no clear consensus of who won the War of 1812, one thing is certain: the war was a defining event that helped to create two independent countries who have made extraordinary progress as partners and allies – in war and peace – ever since.
As part of the year-long commemoration of the bicentennial anniversary of the War of 1812, the Consulate General of Canada in Chicago proudly participated in a public symposium held at the Newberry Library. The symposium featured several presentations followed by a lively dialogue, intended to highlight the perspectives of Canada's First Nations and the U.S. Indian Tribes.
Each of the speakers provided more insight into the heavy toll of the war on the livelihood and prosperity of the First Nations, who served as strategic and vital allies more so in support of the British than the Americans, and the U.S. Indian Tribes. Many acknowledge that without First Nations support in many pivotal conflicts during the war, Ontario would not exist today.
Consul and Head of Foreign Policy and Diplomacy Service Brian Herman also addressed the audience with comparisons between the contentious circumstances 200 years ago and the state of the relationship between the United States and Canada today.
Consul Herman discussed the Canada-United States border, the longest secured border in the world – which serves as a great example of nations co-existing peacefully with mutual respect and friendship.
Additionally, the audience was encouraged to celebrate the fact that as the closest of neighbours, Canada and the United States enjoy cross-border collaboration on many key issues relating to defence, the Great Lakes, energy, and trade and commerce.
Among the speakers at the symposium were Frances L. Hagemann, Ojibwe/Metis Newberry Scholar in Residence and Contributor to the National Council for Social Studies; Rick Hill, Tuscarora Oral Historian and Chairperson of the Six Nations Legacy Consortium in Six Nations Grand River Territory, Ontario; and Gregory Dowd, History and American Culture, University of Michigan. The panellists were joined by Scott Stevens, Director of the Darcy McNickle Center for American Indian and Indigenous Studies at the Newberry Library, for the discussion following the talks.
The symposium proceedings were recorded for WBEZ's Chicago Amplified and are available via podcast at Chicago Public Radio.