Scorched Earth - Travelling mostly in small groups, the forests were easily navigated by the women as they moved from one camp to another. However, as the war ensued and settlers encroached, former trails and familiar gathering grounds were burnt or impassable. Photo by Art and Soul Photography
The Native Women’s quilting group at Chippewas of the Thames First Nation has been involved in a historic community project honouring the War of 1812. In August 2011, we were approached by the Longwoods Barn Quilt Trail to participate in a project that honoured women’s support of the soldiers and First Nations’ warriors that fought in the War of 1812. The result was the design and sewing of a 31 block quilt that depicts the aboriginal perspective of this piece of local history – the Native Women’s Trail of Tears Quilt.
With the help of more than 100 community members of all ages, the quilt blocks were transformed into 8’ x 8’ pieces of community art, which are erected on various buildings and on posts throughout the Chippewa of the Thames First Nation and the neighboring community of Melbourne. This art project is linked to the Longwoods and Wardsville Projects which continues on to similar projects in the counties of Elgin, Oxford, Brant and Norfolk.
By June of 2013, we mounted all 31 art installations. The initiative is becoming a major tourism attraction with an anticipated draw of thousands of travellers during the “200th anniversary commemoration years”.
The Native Women’s Trail of Tear Barn Quilt Project has contributed to community pride, awareness of culture within our youth and the significance of the Chippewas of the Thames First Nation in the War of 1812. An article about the project appeared in Anishinaabek News and the quilt has toured at least 20 important events. Most recently, the Province of Ontario has recognized barn quilt trails as a significant tourism opportunity in Ontario, and the Chippewa project is a featured promotional site as it is currently the only First Nation barn quilt trail in Canada.
Volunteer Project Coordinator
Email: email@example.com June 12, 2014
The Native Womens Trail of Tears Quilt