The area to the west of Fort George was known as the Commons, a large parcel of flat land inland from the Niagara River. It had always been a place known to the First Nations, who had camped there for centuries. It would seem only natural then that Indian Affairs would be handled there, outside the Fort, much like how an embassy functions today.
The Indian Department maintained good relations with the First Nations people in the event of war. For many winters, rations from Britain were divided amongst the soldiers, settlers and Indians that sought refuge on the grounds of the Commons. A Council House, stood on the grounds until it was burned by the Americans during the War of 1812. The British military rebuilt the Council House and continued to use the facility until 1822 when the Indian Department ceased affairs in the region.