Friday, May 17, 2013
Aboriginal leader Elijah Harper dies
ELIJAH HARPER (March 3, 1949 - May 17, 2013)
© TOM HANSON / THE CANADIAN PRESS
Well-respected aboriginal leader and former Manitoba MLA and MP Elijah Harper died early this morning.
His wife, Anita Olsen Harper, his children and the family said in the statement that Harper "was a wonderful man, father, partner. He was a true leader and visionary in every sense of the word."
The statement added: "He will have a place in Canadian history, forever, for his devotion to public service and uniting his fellow First Nations with pride, determination and resolve. Elijah will also be remembered for bringing Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people together to find a spiritual basis for healing and understanding. We will miss him terribly and Love him forever.”
Harper, who was born on the Red Sucker Lake First Nation, about 710 kilometres northeast of Winnipeg, attended residential schools in Norway House, Brandon and Birtle, and then secondary schools at Garden Hill and Winnipeg.
He studied at the University of Manitoba and began his long career in public service when he was elected chief of his community at the young age of 29.
In 1981, Harper was elected as member of the Manitoba Legislative Assembly for Rupertsland, an office he held for 11 years.
He was the first person elected from a First Nations to serve as MLA.
He is most well known for standing in the Manitoba Legislature in 1990, raising a single eagle feather, and voting against the Meech Lake Accord, which led to the accord’s demise.
BLOG MASTER'S NOTE: Mr. Elijah Harper was part of a delegation of Canadian parliamentarians, led by Hon. Judi Longfield, who visited the exhibition "Gatherings: Aboriginal Art from the Collection of the Winnipeg Art Gallery" shown in Taipei from September - October 2003 (click HERE).
~ The image on a poster for this exhibition, an acrylic painting on canvas titled "Astral Plain Scouts" was created by Norval Morrisseau in 1976 /Winnipeg Art Gallery Collection/