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The Landscape of Nations Memorial – Honouring the First Nations warriors who fought in the War of 1812

June 2023

The Landscape of Nations Memorial, in Queenston Heights Park in Niagara-on-the-Lake, is a living memorial dedicated to the Haudenosaunee (Six Nations) Confederacy and Indian allies who supported British forces during the War of 1812.

This was the site of the infamous Battle of Queenston Heights, fought on 13 October 1813, in which British Regulars, Upper Canadian militia and Mohawk warriors, defeated an invading force of American Regulars and militia from New York State, despite being outnumbered.

The battle is also known for the death of the British Commander, Major-General Sir Isaac Brock, KB, along with his Canadian aide-de-camp, Lieutenant Colonel John MacDonell.

The memorial, dedicated in the fall of 2016, also serves to recognize the historic ceremony of peace and reconciliation held in Niagara on 31 August 31 and 1 September 1815, that restored peace among the First Nations who fought on opposing sides during the war.

The memorial is made up of several components, including:

The Turtle

The turtle symbol, part of the north-side entry point, is part of the Six Nations creation story, where the earth was created on the back of a giant turtle when Skywoman fell from the sky.

John Norton

A statue of Major John Norton (Teyoninhokarawen), who was adopted into the Mohawk Nation by Joseph Brant, serving as one of two sentries at the entrance. He led fighters from Six Nations of the Grand River into battles at Queenston Heights, Stoney Creek and Chippawa.

John Brant

A statue of John Brant (Ahyouwa’ehs), the son of Joseph Brant, serving as the second of two sentries at the entrance. Along with John Norton, Brant led warriors at the Battle of Queenston Heights along with other engagements.

The Longhouse

The longhouse, which is a traditional architectural structure and a symbol of the member nations living under one Great Law of Peace, serves as a direct reference to The Six Nations, who refer to themselves as Haudenosaunee, or “People of the Longhouse.”

Two-Row Wampum Belt

The walkway represents the Two-Row Wampum Belt, the first treaty between the Haudenosaunee and Europeans, representing their agreement to co-exist on parallel paths.

The Memory Circle

Featuring eight limestone walls, mined from the Queenston Limestone Quarry, that radiate out from the circle like a sunburst. The walls contain plaques that honour the Chiefs of the Six Nations at the time, the First Nations that fought in the battle, and the Peace and Reconciliation of 1815.

Sweetgrass, a sacred medicine among the Haudeonsaunee and other Indigenous Nations across North America, is grown in the centre circle.

The memorial also serves as a gathering place, where visitors can remember the contributions of Six Nations and Native Allies who participated in the War of 1812.

Fort Riall

This represents the artillery battery, named after Major-General Phineas Riall, built during the War of 1812. This earth mound overlooks the Memory Circle on the east side.

Tree of Peace

An eastern white pine stands as a symbol of the Haudenosaunee constitution known as the Great Law of Peace, serving as a living memorial dedicated to the contributions and sacrifices made by Six Nations and Native Allies on Queenston Heights and throughout the War of 1812.

Sources: Landscape of Nations: A Virtual Experience (niagaraparks.com), Indigenous Month ceremony at Landscape of Nations memorial June 1 (niagarathisweek.com), Home (lon360.ca), The Landscape of Nations Memorial – HGH Granite.

About the author

Bruce Forsyth

Bruce Forsyth served in the Royal Canadian Navy Reserve for 13 years (1987-2000). He served with units in Toronto, Hamilton & Windsor and worked or trained at CFB Esquimalt, CFB Halifax, CFB Petawawa, CFB Kingston, CFB Toronto, Camp Borden, The Burwash Training Area and LFCA Training Centre Meaford.

Permanent link to this article: https://militarybruce.com/the-landscape-of-nations-memorial-honouring-the-first-nations-warriors-who-fought-in-the-war-of-1812/

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