A working group of the Town of Niagara-on-the-Lake’s War of 1812 Bicentennial Committee has raised slightly over $1 million to construct an art installation in honour of the contributions made by the Six Nations of the Grand River and their Native Allies during the War of 1812.
This public artwork, known as “Landscape of Nations” will be located at Queenston Heights Park as part of a partnership agreement with The Niagara Parks Commission. The timing of the installation later this year coincides with the 200th anniversary of the historic Council of Peace & Reconciliation Conference which was held in Niagara on August 31 and September 1, 1815 between representatives of the Six Nations of the Grand River Territory, Native Americans of New York, and the British Crown.
At a media conference earlier this month, which included a special visit by Six Nations Chief Ava Hill, a welcome from First Nations member and Elder-in-Residence Carol Jacobs of Brock University and a water drum performance by Hubert Buck, members of the Working Group provided an overview of the project and an appeal to the public to help them reach their fundraising goal.
Pat Darte, Lord Mayor of the Town of Niagara-on-the-Lake, was on hand to congratulate the Working Group for their tremendous efforts in bringing this project to life. “On behalf of Town Council and our residents, I want to thank everyone involved for your tireless dedication to this project. This memorial will be a lasting legacy for years to come and a constant reminder to everyone who visits the site about the important contribution made by our Native Allies, not only during the War of 1812, but in the creation of our country.”
Campaign Co-Chairs Tim Johnson of the Smithsonian Institution’s Museum of the Native American and Dr. Richard Merritt, a renowned local historian, thanked the many generous local benefactors, as well as the Federal Government, which helped to launch the fundraising campaign through a $420,000 matching grant under Canadian Heritage’s Building Communities through Arts and Heritage Program.
“This project has taken over seven years to come to fruition,” stated Dr. Merritt. “However, it was well worth the time and effort, given it has taken 200 years to finally recognize and honour the critical contributions by our Native Allies to this country. I want to thank all those people who recognized this and in six short months, allowed us to reach this stage in our fundraising campaign.”
Mr. Johnson also thanked those who have supported this campaign – financially and in spirit. “Landscape of Nations is a project of national significance,” stated Mr. Johnson. “It affirms the proper place of First Nations peoples at the core of Canadian history and signals their ongoing role in contemporary life and national affairs. I encourage individual Canadians to join us in making this exciting and long-overdue public artwork a reality.”
Those who wish to donate to the Landscape of Nations project are invited to visit www.landscapeofnations.com or contact John Hawley at 905-468-2766 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
(Photo caption: Elected Chief Ava Hill with Tim Johnson and Richard Merritt, co-chairs of the Landscape of Nations Working Group, announce the public phase of the memorial’s capital campaign in the Niagara-on-the-Lake Public Library.)