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Elijah Harper, key player in Meech Lake accord, dies at 64

Ex-Manitoba MLA, MP and political maverick died of cardiac failure related to diabetes

Posted: May 17, 2013 9:51 AM CT 

Last Updated: May 17, 2013 7:27 PM CT

Elijah Harper, a former Manitoba MLA and MP who was a key player in defeating the Meech Lake accord, has died at the age of 64.

Harper died early Friday in Ottawa as a result of cardiac failure due to diabetes complications, according to a statement released by his family.

Harper achieved national fame in 1990 by holding an eagle feather as he stood in the Manitoba legislature and refused to support the Meech Lake accord, effectively blocking the constitutional amendment package negotiated to gain Quebec's acceptance of the Constitution Act of 1982.

Harper protested that the proposed accord was negotiated in 1987 without the input of Canada's aboriginal peoples.

The accord required ratification by all 10 provincial legislatures and Parliament, and Harper's action prevented Manitoba from doing so before the deadline. Newfoundland followed by cancelling its free vote in the legislature. 

Family says Harper 'a true leader and visionary'

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."

  • Defeating Meech Lake
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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.”...READ FULL AT CBC

It is, in the end, the story of one man and one feather.

The man is there for history to measure. He has a name, an age and an address: Elijah Harper, 41, of Red Sucker Lake, Northern Manitoba. He has a voice to speak for himself, a past that can be traced and on Friday (June 22) he took action on a matter for which he will be forever judged.

At 12:30 p.m. his very soft "No" from the back row of the Manitoba Legislative Assembly brought an end to debate on the Meech Lake Accord. Elijah Harper knows he will be both blamed and cheered for having done what no one else would dare.

The feather is not so easily explained... (Windspeaker, The feather, Elijah Harper and Meech Lake)


Elijah Harper: "He will be remembered and have a place in history forever"


Grand Chief Derek Nepinak of the Assembly of Manitoba First Nations offered his condolences to the family of Elijah Harper, and reflected on his significance to Indigenous people in Canada:

As a residential school survivor, Elijah spent a large part of his life fighting for the rights of First Nations people of Canada and for the betterment of the human condition around the world while he was a Chief of Red Sucker Lake First Nation, worked with the Manitoba Indian Brotherhood, a Member of the Manitoba Legislative Assembly, a Member of Parliament and as a Commissioner of the Indian Claims Commission. As a humber leader, he made Canadian history when he, with eagle feather in hand, said 'No' to the Meech Lake Accord. He felt that the Indigenous people of this country were not being recognized or being allowed to participate in a meaningful way in that constitutional process. (Rabble,
Elijah Harper remembered: 'He will have a place in Canadian history forever')


Greatness is a Gift...He Was Our Gift




Published in National News
Saturday, 16 March 2013 06:41

The Journey of Nishiyuu Walkers

The Quest of Wisjinichu-Nishiyuu, Quest For Unity

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6 Youth under the age of 20 with two guides wish to walk 1500 KM to Ottawa and arrive in Parliament Hill. This is a strong message to prove to other First Nations across Canada that the Cree Nation of Quebec are not sellouts, but keepers of the Language, Culture, Tradition and more importantly; today, we still carry the sacred laws of our ancestors.


This Quest-Journey will establish and unite our historical allies and restore our traditional trade routes with the Algonquin, Mohawk and other First Nations. The time for Unity is now.


Through Unity and Harmony, the quest will revive the voices of our “Anskushiyouch”. Their voices will be heard once more. With their guidance and strength, the Truth to all the sacred teachings will be revived and we will become once more, a powerful United Nations across Turtle Island.

The warriors have awaken and will rise:

The Cree people have always been fierce warriors; they have always been the gatekeepers of the North. They have had many battles and disputes over the territory, and to this day we have never surrendered our land to no nation, not now, not ever.

This land, the earth, the rivers, the winds, the mountains, the clouds and all of the creation, we are the true keepers and will continue to do so until time on earth is over. This Quest, it is time the Youth become the Warriors and the leaders for they are the “Anskushshiyouch” as foretold. The Earth Walkers, the beings put here on earth to protect all of Chisamanitou's Creation. In unity, in harmony, in peace, in war, we will achieve.


  1. Stanley George Jr, 
  2. Johnny Abraham, 
  3. David Kawapit, 
  4. Raymond Kawapit, 
  5. Geordie Rupert, 
  6. Travis George 
  7. Isaac Kawapit (Guide)

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Quest of Wisjinichu-Nishiyuu, Quest For Unity

From Helen Atkinson

  • The trekkers started from their community which is on Hudson Bay on the Quebec side (they left on January 11?). Their community has no road access. They are snowshoeing through the wilderness and are camping along the way. They had 85 km under their belts on Jan 23rd, since they left their community a week ago.
  • Their community is Cree and Inuit. It is called Whapmagoostui in Cree, Kuujjuarapik in Inuktitut, Great Whale River in English and Poste de la Baleine in French. It is the farthest north Cree community and the southernmost Inuit community, in Quebec.
  • It will take them another week or so (from January 24)  to get to the first community on their trek which is Chisasibi. The Youth Council is preparing for their arrival and for their accommodation while they are here. Chisasibi is connected by road so it will be easier to support them on their trek. It is at least 1400 km to Ottawa by road from here (Chisasibi).
  • Around here this morning (January 24) the wind chill is -42 degrees C. It is probably much colder where they are.

Journey of Nishuyuu Timeline


Facebook Group: The Journey of the Nishiyuu

  • Updated Daily and on the hour

Facebook Group Direct E-mail Posting: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Facebook Event: Welcoming the Journey of the Nishiyuu to Ottawa


Journey of Nishiyuu - TEASER - YouTube

Published on Feb 7, 2013

Six young Cree men and a guide started the epic Journey of Nishiyuu on January 16, 2013, to carry a message to embrace and celebrate culture, hope, peace, the protection of Mother Earth, unity and healing of all humanity.

The seven walkers embark on the historic snowshoe journey from their hometown of Whapmagoostui, which is located along the coast of Hudson Bay in Northern Quebec, to Ottawa, Ontario - this is The Journey of Nishiyuu.

This montage features moments from the first 200KM and the eventual arrival in Chisasibi, Quebec. More footage will be added until the feature documentary is released.

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Official Website of the Nishiyuu Journey

Official Website of the Nishiyuu Journey


The Journey of Nishiyuu
General Delivery
Whapmagoostui, Quebec

Matthew Mukash: tel. 819-929-3718/514-703-3718, e-mail:  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Benjamin Masty: tel: 819-929-3938/819-929-0766 (cell), e-mail:  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Matthew A. Iserhoff: tel:819-929-3718, e-mail:  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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