Commemoration event recognizes ancestors' sacrifices
The War of 1812 Commemoration Launch on Sunday brought out community leaders to recognize a defining moment when Canada was forged.
The Whitecap Dakota First Nation recognized the role of the Dakota people and the other contributions in the alliance with the British including the French, German, and Ukrainian settlers that lead to the defeat of the Americans.
"Prior to the Royal Proclamation our ancestors relationship with the British began with trade and lead to ... ceremonies of peace and friendship. In 1787 they signed a written treaty about peace, friendship, commerce and of course military alliance," said Chief Darcy Bear of Whitecap First Nation.
The ceremony had many people stand up and discuss the pivotal role of First Nation and Metis people in establishing a boundary between Canada and the United States.
"At the time you had Napoleon waging a war against the British in Europe, a lot of their military personnel and financial resources are tied up in that war... It was eight million versus 300,000," said Bear.
The American expansion into Canada was expected to only take three weeks.
"The King himself sent his officials across the ocean to give orders to ally with First Nations and to make them promises. There were over 10,000 warriors involved," said Bear.
Minister of Aboriginal affairs and northern development John Duncan recognized that Canada would not exist if it were not for the efforts and sacrifices of Canada's First Nation and Metis people.
"Had we lost the war of 1812 everything would be different for us today. We would be flying an American flag, we would have a president named Barack Obama, we would have their economy, but we don't," said Bear.
"We have an independent nation called Canada."
The Sioux Valley Singers created the atmosphere of reverence and respect throughout the ceremony.
It was an important moment for Frank Royal from Whitecap because he can link his descendants to the war.
"It proves the Dakota Nations contributed to the making of Canada. We are here to stay and are not going anywhere," Royal said.
He said that public education is key.
"We just didn't come from the states and settle in Canada. We fought with the British. It is important for the public to know that and the rest of Canada," he said.
The 200th anniversary celebrations continued with Ukrainian , German, and Metis dancing. The evening ended with a performance by the Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra and fireworks.