Who Lost the War of 1812? Indigenous Peoples

Authored by Allison Lang

Peter Stuart Hay, Secretary of the General Society of the War of 1812, declares his right to membership by providing evidence that his father, Peter Hay, fought in the war. This is the first page of the very first application to the General Society, dated July 4, 1876.

The General Society of the War of 1812 is a gentlemen’s organization exclusive to those who can trace their ancestry back to veterans of the conflict. Their website, steeped in patriotism, proudly displays a photograph from their 2019 meeting in Washington D.C., complete with 56 smiling, white faces. The General Society’s stated purpose is to “perpetuate [the War’s] memories and victories” (General Society of the War of 1812, n.d.). What is glaringly absent from the memories they preserve are the indigenous perspectives of this time period that make the story much richer and more complex.

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