Elijah Harper Lies in State at Manitoba Legislature
Elijah Harper will lie in state at the Manitoba Legislative Building in Winnipeg, Manitoba, on Sunday May 20 from 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs announced.
The iconic and beloved leader who first showed Canada that aboriginals could make a difference on the national stage walked on late last week, on Friday May 17. (Related: Elijah Harper, Iconic Aboriginal Leader Who Scuttled Meech Accord, Walks On)
The service will be held from 7:00 p.m. to 12:00 a.m. (midnight) on Monday, May 20, 2013 at the Glory and Peace Church, the Manitoba chiefs said, with official burial taking place from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., on Thursday, May 23, 2013 at the Full Gospel Church in Red Sucker Lake First Nation, where Harper grew up and served as chief, among other prominent roles.
The casket will be open during the viewing, with a Manitoba flag draped over a portion of it, longtime friend and colleague Jennifer Wood told The Star. Condolence books will be available for signing, the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs said in their statement.
Harper was an iconic aboriginal leader who spent much of his life in politics. He was best known for “putting the screech on the Meech,” as Perry Bellegarde, chief of the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations, told CBC News. Harper did so by delaying a vote on an accord that needed to be ratified by the Manitoba Legislature in order for Quebec to sign the national constitution back in 1990 long enough for the measure to die, on the grounds that the agreement had been drafted without aboriginal consultation. It marked the first time aboriginal affairs had influenced national politics in a major way and was the precursor to future generations of political activism and conviction.
"The perseverance and the strength and honour and dignity with which he carried himself in the face of much pressure and adversity that he was strong enough to stand up for our people,” Bellegarde said. “He'll be a role model and he's going to be sadly missed.”