Elijah Harper, Cree, 1949-

He was Band Chief at Red Sucker Lake, northern Manitoba, from 1978 to 1981. In 1981, Harper became the first Treaty Indian to be elected as a provincial politician winning the northern Manitoba riding of Rupertsland for the NDP. In 1986, he was appointed Minister without Portfolio responsible for Native Affairs. In 1987, he was named Minister of Northern Affairs and Minister in charge of the Communities Economic Development Fund Act. In 1990, Harper achieved national fame as he took his stand in the Manitoba legislature and refused to accept the Meech Lake Accord - it did not guarantee rights to Canada's Aboriginal peoples, and the Manitoba assembly could not approve the Accord. As a result, Newfoundland cancelled a proposed vote on the Accord which, failing to pass in both Manitoba and Newfoundland, it did not become law. Harper also opposed the 1992Charlottetown Accord, despite its support by the Assembly of First Nations. A longer biography appears in Native Leaders of Canada.

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