Bloomington, Ind. -- A monument commemorating the pivotal role of Canada's native nations in the building of the nation was dedicated recently at DeCew House Heritage Park in Thorold, Ontario, Canada. The First Nations Peace Monument incorporates 22 tons of hand-carved limestone blocks provided by the Indiana Limestone Company of Bloomington, Ind.

Designed by architect Douglas Cardinal, the monument particularly honors Laura Secord, renowned for warning the British garrison at DeCew House of impending invasion by American troops during the War of 1812. The monument also stands as a testament to the essential contributions of First Nations people to the Niagara region and Canadian history more generally.

The Friends of Laura Secord organization was the driving force behind the realization of the monument. According to the Friends' website, "The monument is intended to generate a deeper understanding of the heritage and ongoing history of First Nations peoples, and to illuminate the founding role they played (and continue to play) in the ever-evolving North American cultural mosaic."

The monument was prepared and carved by the Smith and Barber-Sculpture Atelier, Inc. of Ottawa, Canada. Danny Barber of the heritage restoration firm said it took most of two months to produce the thousands of grooves carved into the monument's outer limestone walls.

The homogenous consistent character of Indiana limestone made it a strong choice for the First Nations Peace Monument. "We used gray Indiana limestone on that project," Barber said. "It's not at all difficult to carve, but it's hard enough to hold a really nice edge for detail and tooling."

"It's an honor to be a part of such an important memorial on Canada's 150th anniversary year," said Tim Pick, Indiana Limestone Company's architectural sales representative for Canada. "The amazing design by Douglas Cardinal, brought to life by the team at Smith and Barber, is something that must be seen in person. The durability and beauty of the Indiana limestone used for the memorial will allow the memorial to stand for generations to come. It portrays the importance of the First Nations in Canada's history and their role in making Canada the great country it is today."

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