Historians seek $1.5M for Tecumseh memorial

Historians in the News

A group of historians in Thamesville, Ont., say they'll need $1.5 million to upgrade a memorial for a native American chief who played a key role in the War of 1812.

Chief Tecumseh was a Shawnee chief from Ohio who allied with the British to help capture Detroit in August 1812. He was killed a year later, in the Battle of the Thames, in Thamesville, a community 24 kilometres northeast of Chatham.

His life story is described briefly on a plaque on the current monument.

But that's not enough for Lisa Gilbert, chair of the Tecumseh Monument Redevelopment Committee, who hopes to add a few more details as the war's bicentennial approaches.

"We're hoping to use this once-in-200 years chance to more properly tell the story of Tecumseh and his native brethren," Gilbert told CBC News on Friday morning. "[We want] to more properly interpret the story and to more properly commemorate the sacrifice that he made."

Gilbert and her team are now looking for funding for their project. They have plans to apply for a variety of grants, and hope that governmental agencies like Parks Canada and Ontario's Ministry of Culture "might make a significant contribution to the cause.

"We're also hoping that the government will step up to the plate and fund this project on its own, because we think it's a valuable one," Gilbert said. "Failing that, we're certainly going to go to the community — the beleagured community — from service clubs, from corporations, from individuals."

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