Mitchell Museum
of the American Indian

3001 Central Street
Evanston, IL 60201

“Old Fort Dearborn with Surroundings in 1856,” rebuilt after the Battle of Fort Dearborn.  Courtesy of the Library of Congress. 

The War of 1812: A Local American Indian History

August 2012 - September 2013

This year marks the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812.  Referred to as “America’s Second War of Independence,” the conflict saw allied Native American, British, and Canadian forces battling the United States in a war that lasted two and a half years.  Largely forgotten in America, the War of 1812 played an important role in shaping the country as we know it and in understanding historic and contemporary American Indian and government relations.

While much of the war took place at sea, in Canada, and in the eastern Great Lakes, crucial events occurred in the Chicago area that aimed in part to prevent American expansion into Indian territories.  The infamous Battle of Fort Dearborn (also referred to as the Fort Dearborn Massacre) between Potawatomi warriors and American soldiers and militia left a lasting mark on Chicago twenty one years before the city’s founding.  Despite the Battle’s prominent remembrance as the first star on the City of Chicago’s flag, it remains a misunderstood event.

Visit the Mitchell Museum’s newest exhibit “The War of 1812:  A Local American Indian History” to learn more about all perspectives of this bloody war.  View maps and documents from the war, read biographies of prominent American Indian leaders including Tecumseh (Shawnee), and interact with a response board debating if the events at Fort Dearborn were a Battle or Massacre.  From the causes of conflict and declaration of war to the local Battle of Fort Dearborn’s contemporary controversy, the exhibit provides visitors with new perspectives on a war of lasting importance.


Exhibits are funded in part through a generous grant from the


Tuesday – Saturday:
10am – 5pm
Thursday: 10am – 8pm
Sunday: 12pm – 4pm

Adults: $5.00
Children, students, teachers, seniors: $3.00 
Mitchell Members: FREE
Tribal Members: FREE



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