Francis “Peggy” Pegahmagabow, Anishnaabe (Ojibwa) chief, Aboriginal rights advocate, war hero (born on 9 March 1889 on the Parry Island reserve, ON; died 5 August 1952 at Parry Island, ON). The most highly decorated Aboriginal person in Canada during the First World War, Pegahmagabow became a vocal advocate for Indigenous rights and self-determination.
First Nations and Métis peoples played a significant role in Canada in the War of 1812. The conflict forced various Indigenous peoples to overcome longstanding differences and unite against a common enemy. It also strained alliances, such as those in the Iroquois (Haudenosaunee) Confederacy in which some branches were allied with American forces. Most First Nations strategically allied themselves with Great Britain during the war, seeing the British as the lesser of two colonial evils and the group most interested in maintaining traditional territories and trade.
Canada is a country so vast that too often, it seems, its history is lost inside its geography. A striking example is the history of Indigenous peoples, whose long, rich narrative is well-preserved by them, but seldom gets the same attention on a broader scale — even when their stories affect us all.
John Brant (Ahyonwaeghs), Mohawk Grand Chief, Indian Superintendent (b near Brantford, Ont, 27 Sep 1794; d there 27 Aug 1832). John Brant was the son of Joseph Brant, Mohawk chieftain and the first Aboriginal to receive a commission in the British Army, as a captain in 1757.
Red Jacket (Otetiani), Aboriginal leader (b near Conaga, Seneca County, NY 1750; d at Seneca Village, near Buffalo, NY, 30 Jan 1830). Otetiani was also known as Red Jacket because of an ornate red officer's coat he received from the British in recognition of wartime service during the American Revolution. He supported the American side during the War of 1812.
On October 4, 1813, the eve of the Battle of Moraviantown, the great Shawnee chief Tecumseh had a foreboding. Our lives are in the hands of the Great Spirit, he said, We are determined to defend our lands, and if it is His will, we wish to leave our bones upon them.