Elijah Harper writes in his introduction to Elijah Harper: No Ordinary Hero: “Personally, I can never thank aboriginal people across the country enough for their support, for their show of solidarity. I did not act alone. Through them I found strength. I had the collective will and the prayers of my people behind me.”
I found this attitude seems to permeate through the book written by Pauline Comeau (published by Douglas & McIntyre, Toronto, 1993). She has written well about part of the struggle for recognition and survival that erupted in the summer of 1990. While there have been always aboriginal people fighting for their rights throughout the history of North America, it seemed as though the aboriginal voice was only a cry in the wilderness until that summer.
That summer saw blockades by native peoples from the west coast, the Dene in the Northwest Territory, the Ojibway in
Ontario, the Lonefighters in Alberta and the armed confrontations of the Mohawks— just to name a few. Then, the unexpected happened, a lone man stood in the way of the Meech Lake Accord and said, NO.
His reasons for saying NO were not that he disagreed with the concessions and recognition of Quebec as a distinct society, but that this time the aboriginal people were not going to be left behind.
This book tells the story of Elijah Harper, his beginnings, his beliefs, his life and the political struggle that he eventually won against immense pressure from the political structure that makes up mainstream Canada.
I fully recommend this book as it tells the story of one of today’s aboriginal heroes. It offers pride in yourself as a native without the crap we see in such traditional offerings from non-natives as Black Robe.