MAY 17, 2013


Born March 3, 1949, in northeast Manitoba, Harper studied at University of Manitoba (1971-72).  In 1978, he became chief of the Red Sucker Lake First Nation.  Elected to the Manitoba Assembly in 1981, Elijah served as Minister for Native Affairs (1986) and for Northern Affairs (1987).  In 1990, Harper led efforts to block the Meech Lake Accord due to lack of Aboriginal participation, won the Stanley Knowles Humanitarian Award, was “Newsmaker of the Year in Canada,” became Red Sucker Honourary Chief for Life, and received the commemorative medal of Canada.  In 1993, he was elected to Parliament.  Harper’s 1995 call for a Sacred Assembly for Aboriginal justice led to June 21st becoming Canada’s National Aboriginal Day.  He also served as Commissioner, Indian Claims Commission (1998-2000). Awards:  National Aboriginal Achievement Award (1996); Order of the Sash, Manitoba Métis Federation; and Gold Eagle Award, Manitoba Indigenous Women’s Collective.  Harper died in Ottawa. 

Source:  “Elijah Harper,” biography.  Retrieved 3/20/2020,
Photo:  Mennonite Church USA Archives, 5/28/2012.  No known copyright restrictions per Mennonite church.

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