Even as a young adult he helped his fellow native by supervising the Indian Brotherhood program in Manitoba and acted as one of the analysts for the Manitoba Northern Affairs. In recent Canadian government, Elijiah Harper has been an aboriginal advocate working to create change in the constitutions for Canadian aboriginals. After Harper won the northern Manitoba riding in 1981 he let the New Democratic Party to be the first Treaty Indian to be elected as a provincial politician.
Harper was later appointed to cabinet for Natives Affairs, then moving forward to be named Minister of Northern Affairs also in charge of Communities Economic Fund act. After his involvement in a car accident while being under the influence of alcohol, he was relieved of his duties as Minister in 1987. Fortunately this accident did not bring injury to anyone, he did plead guilty while refusing a breathalyzer test, and was fined 450$. Harper also lost his license for a year.
With a great amount of regret of his actions, Harper entered himself into an alcohol rehab and a year later was re-appointed as Minister of Northern Affairs and Minister responsible for Natives Affairs in 1987 and served until Howard Pawley’s government failed in 1988. Ratification is the approval of the principal of an act of its agent where the agent lacked authority to legally bind the principal. All ten provinces would have to unanimously agree for the Accord to go to parliament. With merely 12 days left until Harper started a filibuster stopping the Manitoba assembly from ratifying the Accord for Meech Lake.
Although Newfoundland and Labradour did ratify the Accord, the new premier cancelled it Accords approval. This resigned Newfoundland form the support f the Meech Lake Accord. Along side New Brunswick followed suit and cancelled their agreement for the Accord. Since there were three provinces that did not ratify the Accord it was impossible to let the Accord go to parliament, and this constitution was not amended. Not only was it that provinces cancelled their ratification but the legal consultant spoke for 5 and a half hours to the Senate discussing how if this were to be passed it would deny the visions that “the Canada we love and know will be gone for ever. ” (pg. 656) By the 1990s Harper was nationally famous for his bold move while holding an eagles feather in the stand of the Manitoba legislature, refusing to accept the Meech Lake accord. Harper was on a roll, the same year he single-handedly stopped the Meech Lake Accord, he won the Stanley Knowles Humanitarian Award also earning the “Newsmaker of the Year in Canada” by the Canadian Press.
From his chilhood home Red Sucker Lake First Nation, Harper won the title of Honourary Chief and received and medal from the Governor General for his efforts and services. After the Meech Lake Accord failed, Prime Minister Mulroney attempted to get Quebecs agreement for another Constitution with the Charlottetown Accord in 1992. Though Harper wanted to run for the federal New Democratic Party for the 1993 election he resigned from the Manitoba legislature in November of 1992. He was offered positions by many other parties and agreed to work with the Liberals in 1993. He claimed that this change in party affiliation did not reflect a change in his principles: he intended to represent native interests in parliament, party lines notwithstanding. ” This move by Harper was very controversial, as many Quebec MPs did not even want to be associated with Harper because of he brought the Meech Lake Accord down. In the 1993 election, he beat Murphy, serving the Canadian House of Commons. Harper was a member of the Parliamentary Standing Committee of Aboriginal Affairs, but was otherwise not a prominent MP.
However, in 1997 and 2000 Harper was beat out by the New Democrat Bev Desjarlais. Not only is Harper known for his bold stand in the Manitoba legislature, he is known for bringing Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal peoples to find a spiritual basis for healing and understanding. The Sacred Assembly in 1995 is his most known for developing a Reconciliation Proclamation and a Statement of Principles and Priorities. These documents helped the sharing in the Assembly. In 1997, Winnipeg, Manitoba a second Sacred Assembly was held.
Harpers hard work for his people was not neglected as he won the National Aboriginal Achievement Award in 1996. Elijah Harper was appointed Commissioner of the Indian Claims Commission on January 21, 1999, and remains in demand as a speaker. Another accomplishment that Harper has achieved is earning a film made based on him in June of 1990 while he blocked the Manitoba legislature which was played in 2007 in the International Film Festival in Vancouver, British Columbia. This film was titled, Elijiah.