07/25/2012 08:57 EDT | Updated 09/24/2012 05:12 EDT

First Nations Omitted From War Of 1812 Re-Enactment


Actors dressed in period costumes helped bring the War of 1812 theme alive at the Tall Ships Festival in Halifax, but the re-enactment left out Canada's aboriginal allies.

Professional re-enactors hired by Parks Canada marched on the Halifax waterfront as if braced for an American attack, but no one represented the First Nations soldiers who fought for the British colony.

Thousands of First Nations soldiers helped turn the tide of the war in British and Canadian favour.

"(We) certainly would not have been able to save our territory if not for the native contribution," said site manager Rob Roe.

Parks Canada has not officially replied to CBC's query about the missing aboriginal re-enactors, but Roe said he didn't know why aboriginals were not represented in the Halifax re-enactment.

The missing re-enactors don't surprise Betty Ann Lavallée of the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples.

"Most Canadians do not know the significance of the aboriginal commitment to the formation of this country to begin with," she said.

"It's not taught in schools."

Re-enactors will show eager crowds a snippet of 1812 life in Lunenburg and other ports this summer, but for now the First Nations people who helped forge Canada will remain hidden from view.