Akwesasne & The War of 1812

This speach was given at...

1812: A War of Many Faces
Fort Niagara, Lewiston NY
June 10-12, 2011

Oswego County War of 1812 Symposium
Oswego NY
March 31, 2012

by Darren Bonaparte

A historian once remarked that the most curious aspects of the War of 1812 is that both sides thought they won it.   The opposite was true for the people of Akwesasne, who fought on both sides of the conflict and suffered losses as the result of it. Most of the great wars of early American and Canadian history were really just the North American theater of whatever war was being waged in Europe.  The War of 1812 was a spillover of the Napoleonic Wars as much as it was the “sequel” to the American Revolution.  But for those who had to fight it, or see it fought around them, this was a deeply personal and local war....

This was true of First Nations, and especially of Akwesasne, where it gave new life to old divisions.

War of 1812

Two centuries have passed since this region’s last epic war.  The War of 1812 is being commemorated by Americans and Canadians as a defining moment in their history.  Americans hail their victory over the vastly-superior British navy, while Canadians hail their successful defense of Canada against invading American land forces.