Remembering the Pledge of the Crown

The City of Hamilton and Six Nations community members are joining to commemorate the end of the War of 1812. Representatives from various Native Nations will be invited to Dundurn National Historic Site on the 200th anniversary of the 1815 Peace Council which was organized to acknowledge the Native Nations who were British allies during the war.

Pledge of the crown wampum

The public is invited to attend a free Remembering the Pledge of the Crown event on April 25 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission to Dundurn Castle and The Hamilton Military Museum will be free from 12 to 4 p.m. For more information, visit:

A Look Back:

In April 1815 Native Nations who were Allies of the British were invited to gather at Burlington Heights by William Claus then Superintendent of Indian Affairs. Over a three day gathering Claus shared messages of peace and condolence. Following the customs of these Nations he presented them with a wampum belt called the “Pledge of the Crown”.

This gathering allowed Claus to reaffirm the Treaty of Ghent which had formally ended the War of 1812 on December 24th, 1814. The war saw many Native Nations torn between the treaty agreements they had made with the British and Americans and their personal and familial relationships and responsibilities.

Burlington Heights, where Dundurn Castle stands today, is a historic landscape of importance both to Native Nations and Settlers. The area had served as hunting, fishing and farming grounds for thousands of years. This was recognized by Richard Beasley the first Settler to live on the heights. Once established there, Beasley traded locally with the Six Nations of the Grand River, as well as the Mississauga Nation. From June 1, 1813 to September 1, 1815 Burlington Heights was used as a British encampment and fortification at the head of Lake Ontario. It was from Burlington Heights that the attack against the American Post at Stoney Creek was launched on June 6, 1813. The geographic location of Burlington Heights made it the only truly defensible position between Fort George and York.

The British records indicate that representatives from the Huron (Huronne-Wendat ), Shawanoe (Shawnee), Kickapoo, Otawaw (Odawa), Misquakie (Meskwaki), Munsey (Munseee), Nanticoke, Six Nations (Haudenosaunee), Delaware, Chippewa, Saukie (Sac and Fox), Creek (Muscogee Creek), and Moravians met with Claus and officers of the British Indian Department.

Explore, Engage and Experience:

Experience the commemoration of this significant historical event with a day-long celebration of this shared history.

Following a Lighting of the King’s Fire at 6 a.m., the public is invited to experience a Parade of Nations onto the Dundurn grounds at 10 a.m., followed by speeches, dramatic readings and music ending in the planting of a White Pine Tree in front of Durndurn at 12 p.m.

Explore Dundurn Castle and The Hamilton Military Museum which will be open for free to the public from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. Engage with hands-on lacrosse demonstrations, food samples, lectures, art activities and special exhibits. Events planned will give the public an opportunity to learn about the rich and diverse history of the Haudenosaunee (Six Nations) and other Native Nations who were British allies during the War of 1812.

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