Canku Ota - A Newsletter Celebrating Native America
August 26, 2000 - Issue 17

Rev. Aileen Rice (Auntie Soda)
Thirteen exceptional people who have made long term contributions to improving the quality of life in the province were presented with the Ontario Medal for Good Citizenship at a Queen’s Park ceremony. The Honourable Hilary M. Weston, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, presented the medals in a formal ceremony held in the front lobby of the Ontario Legislature.

The event was hosted by Brenda Elliot, Parliamentary Assistant to Helen Johns, Minister of Citizenship, Culture and Recreation.

The Ontario Medal for Good Citizenship recognizes and encourages the virtues of good citizenship by honouring Ontarians who have made outstanding public contributions through exceptional long-term efforts. The award reflects their acts of selflessness, generosity and kindness, and outstanding contributions to community life. It consists of a silver medal emblazoned with the provincial coat of arms on one side and the trillium on the other.

Nominations are made by individuals and community organizations across Ontario. Since 1973, when the first Ontario Medal for Good Citizenship ceremony was held, 347 people have received the award.

Among those receiving the award was:

Rev. Aileen Rice, of the Wasauksing Reserve near Parry Sound, is known by many in the community as Auntie Soda, and has been described as the "glue that holds this community together."

Widowed in 1959 with five children, Rev. Rice then adopted two more children, the first native in Ontario to do so.

She was also the first native to serve on a school board and for 12 years she worked as a native representative on the West Parry Sound School Board. Ordained as a United Church minister in 1992, she is retired, but still serves Parry Island/Shawanaga on a part-time basis. She is involved in many community organizations, and has worked on a Head Start program for native children.



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