Ceremony held to mark Alderville Cenotaph's 90th
Alderville First Nation Chief James Marsden speaks to guests in attendence. In the background are veteran Morris McKenzie and RCMP Corporal Jason Marsden. A celebration of the 90th anniversary of the Alderville First Nation cenotaph was held on Sunday September 17, 2017 in Alderville, Ont. The cenotaph was built in honour of the men from the community who died in World War I and World War II. David Zimmer, Ontario's Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation and MPP Lou Rinaldi were on hand for the ceremony which was followed by a community feast at the community centre. Pete Fisher/Northumberland Today/Postmedia Network
ALDERVILLE - Ontario's Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation spoke with Northumberland Today about reconciliation..
Zimmer was at the 90th anniversary of the Alderville First Nation Cenotaph along with local MPP Lou Rinaldi.
The ceremony was held to mark the importance of the Cenotaph, which was built in honour of the men from the community who died in the first and second world wars.
The ceremony was followed by a feast at the community centre.
As reconciliation is now part of his portfolio, Zimmer stated it's necessary for all Canadians.
"Alderville First Nation is one of the leaders among First Nations. Reconciliation, working together in a positive, good way is something that we all want to achieve."
Zimmer said he had no thoughts on whether Alderville First Nation should take another vote on the Anishinabak Education Agreement that other First Nations have already signed, calling it an internal issue, one he wouldn't address out of respect.
"It would be presumptuous of me, representing government, to interfere with how First Nations deal with that internally," he said.
Zimmer said the government looks forward to seeing First Nation curriculum developed.
"We are always very anxious to see the development of First Nation curriculum especially in First Nation language, history, culture. It's important for everyone, especially non First Nation Ontarians to understand that history."
Zimmer was first elected to the Ontario legislature in 2003 for the riding of Willowdale and was appointed Minister of Aboriginal Affairs in 2013 where he served until June 2016.
He's since been Ontario's Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation for the province.
The Cenotaph was built beginning in 1927, and made use of volunteer effort from Alderville community members and a donation of materials from the McNeel family of Campbellford. It features the names of the fallen under a design that incorporates a cube to represent the four corners of the Earth and three pillars to symbolize faith, hope and charity.
The unique monument was restored in 1992 through the efforts of Alderville First Nation and the Rotary Club of Cobourg.