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Tuscarora Nation declared Heroes

A war memorial commemorating the 200th anniversary of the Tuscarora aiding the citizens of Lewiston, NY during the war of 1812 was erected in one of the town’s public parks last month.

A war memorial commemorating the 200th anniversary of the Tuscarora aiding the citizens of Lewiston, NY during the war of 1812 was erected in one of the town’s public parks last month.

It was a cold winter night in 1813 when the British descended upon the small village of Lewiston, intent on murdering civilians and burning the town to the ground. During the massacre, men from the Tuscarora village atop the Escarpment created a diversion, blowing horns and giving the impression of a large American force ready to respond. Though the Tuscarora were actually outnumbered 30 to 1, they successfully frightened off the British and saved the lives of dozens of Leamington citizens.

Dubbed the Tuscarora Heroes Monument, it is the largest monument acknowledging the war of 1812 and possibly the only one giving thanks to First Nations contributions specifically. A ceremony for the unveiling included a passionate re-enactment of the actions of the heroic Tuscarora Nation.

The Historical Association of Lewiston worked together with local artist Susan Geissler to come up with the 7ft. tall bronze statues. The piece, which is now erected in Lewiston at the corner of Portage Road and Centre Street, features a fleeing woman clutching her infant child racing toward the open arms of two Tuscarora men aiding her escape.

Local children wrote letters and they were placed inside a time capsule that was placed at the monument which is to be opened in 2213. Commemorative coins, postage stamps and a commemorative book have also been produced by the Historical Association to honour the valiant Haudenosaunee mission.

Costs for the statues and landscaping surrounding the monument, around $400,000, were secured by the Historical Association of Lewiston through public and private funders.

Tuscarora Heroes Commemorative Coins are available for purchase through the Lewiston Museum. They can be reached by telephone at (716) 754-4214.

(Photo Courtesy of Historical Association of Lewiston Facebook page, Photo by John Sharpe)

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Nahnda Garlow

Nahnda Garlow

Nahnda Garlow, Onondaga under the wing of the Beaver Clan of Six Nations, is Outreach Editor for the Two Row Times. Her popular column, Scone Dogs and Seed Beads brings weekly thoughts on current day indigenous identity. Nahnda has been a journalist with the Two Row Times since it's founding in 2013. She studied Journalism, Human Rights and Indigenous Studies at Laurier University. She is a self-proclaimed "rez girl" who also brings to the Two Row Times years of experience as a Haudenosaunee cultural interpreter, traditional dancer and beadwork aficionado. Nahnda is a member of the Canadian Association of Journalists and the Native American Journalists Association.

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3 Comments

  • Garry Horsnell
    February 7, 2014, 7:52 am

    That sounds like the Tuscarora helped the Americans and not the British during the War of 1812.

    I thought the Six Nations were British allies. That’s what they keep saying now.

    REPLY
    • BIG6MOHAWK@Garry Horsnell
      March 11, 2014, 12:58 pm

      Isn’t Canada an allies of the US now Garry? So then why didn’t they help the US in Iraq if they were allies?

      REPLY
  • zig misiak
    January 25, 2014, 11:21 am

    The British were NOT on the east side to ‘murder’ the residence they were there to attack Fort Niagara which they did with quite a few Mohawk warriors. They then proceeded to follow the Niagara River all the way to Fort Erie. Now you have to remember that just weeks before that the Americans burned to the ground what we know as Niagara on the Lake. This was mid winter. This type of activity by the Americans was unjustified and not the way war was waged then. So …….. the British aided in large part by Six Nations allies went on a ‘we’ll teach you a lesson’ campaign. The Tuscarora, allied to the Americans did in fact move the white settlers to safety. Much of the damage done to the Tuscarora village and other villages as they were retreating were by the retreating American soldiers themselves. They were in desperate need of food and supplies.

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