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)
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')
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.
From Helen Atkinson
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.
The Journey of Nishiyuu
Matthew Mukash: tel. 819-929-3718/514-703-3718, e-mail: