First Nations saved the day
The Canadian government states that “Without the alliance with First Nations during the war of 1812, the defence of Canada would probably not have been successful.” The First Nations who were British allies held the Americans at bay for the first two years of the war.
Historian Jon Latimer states the “The battle of the Thames (in Moraviantown) was a great victory for the United States, and the death of Tecumseh shattered the Indian Confederacy.”
The history of War of 1812 locally is being reconstructed from the First Nations’ perspective with the help of academics and archives because a lot of the oral history passed from one generation to the next was lost when generations of children were sent to residential schools. George E. Henry explains that “the chain of oral history was broken when children did not receive knowledge passed from one generation to the next”.
Local researchers are going back to original sources such as the Moravian Diaries and the war loss compensation records. About 30 quilters, historians, and interested folk started meeting in June to research and design two fabric quilts featuring 60 blocks.
There are already 16 barn quilts on Longwoods Road near Wardsville. Sixty more barn quilt blocks will interpret women’s stories about their involvement in the War of 1812. The two story quilts each have a narrative. One quilt features stories told by First Nations women and the other will feature the stories of settler women.
People tend to be puzzled by the barn art until they realize that each block tells a story. The art on a barn or business is detailed with maps and descriptions found on-line.