War Clubs & Wampum Belts: Haudenosaunee Experiences of the War of 1812

Posted 12/08/23 in NEWS

This exhibit will expose the Canadian public to the unknown contributions and the very role the Haudenosaunee warriors played in the War of 1812. The contribution by the Haudenosaunee warriors both in the United States and in Canada is an unheard and unacknowledged history that caused great strife within the Six Nations Confederacy. The exhibit will explore the correspondences between the various Haudenosaunee communities in the U.S. and in Canada who were involved in the War of 1812 by their respective allies. The Haudenosaunee Confederacy Council becomes divided again by the actions of our allies when certain communities refused to get involved in the war, while others join the cause to bring attention to our land rights. This war caused more than casualties; it caused families to bring up arms against one another, which went against our Great Law of Peace. In the end, our people the Haudenosaunee were left with great damages to the loss of further lands and loss of men who fought in the war. The exhibit will display several archival letters, war weapons and artifacts pertaining to the Haudenosaunee specifically those warriors from Six Nations of the Grand River.

The Woodland Cultural Centre is the leading First Nations-managed museum in the country, and as such the Centre will play a pivotal role in the bicentennial of the War of 1812, particularly for Six Nations. The Six Nations Haudenosaunee were crucial allies of the British Crown for the duration of this conflict, and continues to this day. It is important to our community at Six Nations of the Grand River that we are appropriately recognized and active in plans, events and activities planned for this bicentennial.

War Clubs & Wampum Belts: Haudenosaunee in the War of 1812 will provide a summary of the Haudenosaunee involvement in the conflict, as well as outline the conflicting viewpoints of the Haudenosaunee at Buffalo Creek and those at Grand River. The exhibition is also proposing to put on display the wampum belt given to the Haudenosaunee from William Claus during the War of 1812. Of notable interest will be the personal stories of those warriors who were involved in the War and their interpretations in their own languages. Accompanying the exhibition will be a comprehensive museum education program with a specifically designed tour program, development of a War of 1812 edu-kit for pre-visit activities, a catalogue which will serve to be a legacy piece for Six Nations, and a public programme which will include film screenings, workshops and seminars relevant to the exhibit.

The Woodland Cultural Centre's mandate states: The Woodland Cultural Centre is a First Nations educational and cultural centre. It was established in 1972 to protect, promote, interpret, and present the history, language, intellect and cultural heritage of the Anishinaabe and Onkwehon:we. This mandate is from our member Nations: Wahta Mohawks, Six Nations of the Grand River and the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte.
Haudenosaunee in the War of 1812 is an exhibit that will foster a greater understanding of the role of the Six Nations people in the War and our various allegiances to the general public; our First Nations communities and particularly to elementary and high school students. The Woodland Cultural Centre has great relationships with various regional school boards with a large majority of our student tours for grades three and six, along with many high schools.