Niagara Gazette

Communities

April 6, 2013

Monument to honor Tuscaroras moves forward

Niagara Gazette — LEWISTON — It could have become a forgotten moment in the "forgotten war."

Instead, a larger-than-life bronze monument will permanently recall a winter morning during the War of 1812 when the Tuscarora Indian Nation stepped between terrified families who were fleeing this riverfront village and the invading British-Canadian forces who were burning it down.

"Let's face it, not too many people appreciate or understand the War of 1812, let alone this 15 minutes," said Lee Simonson, director of the Tuscarora Heroes project of the Lewiston Historical Association.

As a belated thank-you to the Western New York tribe, the association plans to dedicate the monument on the 200th anniversary of the burning of Lewiston, which will be re-enacted by modern-day residents and tribal members on Dec. 19, 2013.

For those who can't wait to see the finished project, the Historical Association of Lewiston just minted a collector's coin which they're selling to help finance the monument creation.

Coins are 2 inches in diameter and feature a 3D printed version of the monument's action on one side. The reverse depicts a Tuscarora emblem with the turtle, eagle and northern white pine tree. Around the perimeter of this side is a quote from Tuscarora Chief Elias Johnson dated at 1881, which says: "The Tuscaroras were ever ready to sacrifice their blood upon the American altar."

To order the commemorative coin or for more information about it, call the Historical Association at 754-4214 or visit its headquarters at 469 Plain St.

As artist Susan Geissler prepared to ship her clay rendering to a foundry for its transformation to bronze, Simonson recounted the harrowing chapter in this quaint community's history and the modern-day debate over how to mark it for the bicentennial.

At least a dozen — and as many as 46 — men, women and children were killed in the Sunday morning invasion that left much of the village in ashes.

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