The Conservative government's multi-million dollar effort to ensure Canadians never forget the War of 1812 may have sidelined a key figure in the conflict.
Liberal MP Carolyn Bennett told The Huffington Post Canada Wednesday that she was shocked to discover that the grave of Shawnee Chief Tecumseh has been left uncared for when she visited Walpole Island, Ont., near the U.S. border.
Tecumseh is the Native American leader who formed a large confederacy and allied his warriors with the British during the War of 1812, helping to capture Fort Detroit with British Major-General Sir Isaac Brock. He died on the battlefield in 1813.
The Conservative government has pledged to spend nearly $50 million for improvements to historic War of 1812 sites as well as on re-enactments, museum exhibits, commemorative coins and stamps, new parks and a national memorial. But Tecumseh’s remains in Walpole Island have been left off the list.
In question period Wednesday, Bennett said First Nations and Métis had been invaluable to the successful outcome of the War of 1812.
Their role, she said, deserved appropriate attention and celebration. On Walpole Island, the mortar is falling apart between the stones that form Tecumseh's monument, she said.
"There is no picture, there is no story of how he fought for Canada and died," she added.
"With all the government is spending, what will it take for them to work with chief and council and fix this," she asked.
Heritage Minister James Moore said the government had set aside a substantial amount of money to ensure monuments like these are shown due respect.
"We are going across the country looking for projects like this one to make sure that those who served and fought in the fight for Canada, that was the War of 1812, get the respect that they are indeed due."
Moore told HuffPost that he would look into Bennett's example and noted the government would recognize Tecumseh in its new national monument.
The federal government is also spending money on another Tecumseh memorial.
The Friends of the Tecumseh Monument, in Morpeth, Ont., are trying to transform the eight-acre site of the Battle of the Thames where Tecumseh was killed into an open-air museum. The Conservatives announced last fall they would award $49,500 to help fund the $4.2 million project.
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