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Considered the first memorial erected to the memory of an Indigenous person in Canada as well as one of the finest bronze monuments on the North American continent is the Joseph Brant Memorial Statue in honour and perpetuating the memory of Captain Joseph Brant (1742 – 24 November 1807). Known in his native tongue as 'Thayendanegea', he became part in several important military actions in the Seven Years War (1756–1763) and later, was the Principal Chief and Warrior of The Six Nations who led Indigenous forces in New York and Pennsylvania against the Americans during the Revolutionary War (1775–1783) and was highly regarded for his diplomatic and linguistic abilities. The memorial statue shown in the photograph was formally unveiled by John Beverley Robinson (21 February 1821 – 19 June 1896), Lieutenant Governor of Ontario on 13 October 1886 and was rededicated on 16 September 2000. The erection of this Indigenous memorial was significant throughout the North American continent in that it helped pave the way for a change in values on how Indigenous Peoples were to be respected and remembered through the process of memorialization.
On this day, 13 October 2021, we continue to perpetuate the memory of Captain Joseph Brant and mark the 135th anniversary of the memorial erected in his honour.
André M. Levesque