The topic I chose for this assignment is about Elijah Harper. Elijah Harper was a great politician who played various vital roles in policymaking. He helped shape the Canadian policies through the constitutional reforms that he aided; for example, he aided in the rejection of the famous Meech Lake Accord which has remained as a significant contribution up to date. Harper was an active politician in both provincial and federal government. Again, he also participated in other social events before he joined politics; for example, he was a newsmaker for the Canadian press, and he won the Canadian Press Newsmaker Award of the year in 1990. He was also an active humanitarian who consider the environment an important part of the society; he won Stanley Knowles Humanitarian Award in 1990 also. Therefore, Elijah Harper was a Canadian hero both in the political and social dimensions of the society; as a result of his death, Canada is considered to be less one hero.
Question 1: What was the most interesting thing I learned during the research and why?
I could not imagine the life in a society where one particular group feels superior to the other and exploits the other minority group because they do not have access to advantages that the dominant group has. I was thrilled to learn about the post-colonial changes and the people behind the change such as Harper. When I researched on Elijah Harper and learned about his contributions to the Canadian political history, I became thrilled and fascinated. It is hard to get famous person from the indigenous group in Canada; they are considered the minority. One can easily fail to find an aboriginal in the ruling class or political elites. Therefore, it was interesting to find someone who has not only contributed to the policy reforms but also left a legacy as the first person with the original background to win a legislative seat. Learning about Elijah Harper’s contribution to the Canadian development gave expanded my knowledge and perception about the aboriginal groups. Before I embarked on this research, I used to wonder whether we would be enjoying the same social and political advantages that we are enjoying today; the answer came right to me in the process of this research. I realized that we have greatly benefited from the efforts of the great people like Harper. The risks they took to see that the coming generation do not suffer the same fate was something that I could not forget during this research
Question 2: What makes the topic important to Canadian History?
Based on the historical perspective, Elijah Harper has been considered a great inspirational figure in the political arena. His contributions to the Canadian history will remain in the records for long. Harper is mainly famous in the Canadian political history. Most of his great contributions are in the political area; for example, he was the first Aboriginal person to join politics actively. When he was elected for the first time with the New Democratic Party (NDP), Harper made a legacy that no other aboriginal had ever succeeded in many years. He became the first aboriginal to become the Manitoba legislative council member. Harper also participated in one of the Canadian historical policy reforms that still linger in everyone’s mind up to date. His opposition to the Meech Lake Accord brought him at the top level among the Canadian politicians that have ever participated in politics. In 1990, Harper led the other opponents to challenge the policy reform. His participation in the opposition for the voting in of the Meech Lake Accord can be seen through the way he reacted to the situation; Harper refused to append his signature so as to vote the new reform that delayed the plan until it collapsed. Again, Harper is remembered for his participation and contributions to the federal government. When he was elected the Liberal candidate in 1993, Harper served as MP for the riding of Churchill until 1997 when he left the MP seat. However, his participation continued in the federal government; for example, two years later after he left the riding for Churchill he was appointed the commissioner of the Indians Claims Commission.
Harper is further recognized with his active participation towards improving the status of the aboriginal people in Canada. When he was appointed as the commissioner of the Indian Claims Commission, Harper dedicated his time to improving the lives of many minority indigenous groups in Canada and abroad. He held several charitable functions that ensured that the indigenous people continued to enjoy their lives just as any other person in the country. Again, he further held several humanitarian services within and across the borders of Canada. Harper also participated in fight against social and racial inequality in Canada; therefore, he can be remembered for his devotion towards creating a fair and equal society where everyone can feel the sense of belonging. The freedom that we enjoy today in Canada came as a result of the struggle by our heroes such as Elijah Harper in attempt to create a society that the coming generations would never live to regret.
Question 3: Consequences of the topic
The topic about Elijah Harper has had several impacts on this research; for example, it enhanced the historical knowledge of many people who did have the privilege to read about the great heroes in Canada. The topic exposes one to wider knowledge about the past events and consequences that shaped the current state of Canada. Understanding the contributions of Harper to the Canadian political history, one can understand the changes post-colonial changes that occurred in Canada especially in the late 19th century (Edin, 2007). The aboriginal groups in the Canada have had a rough and difficult time trying to get identified amongst the dominant groups. Their contributions have not been regarded with the seriousness it deserves; the topic equips one with the knowledge about the contributions of the aboriginal groups in the Canadian growth and development.
Question 4: The people affected by the topic
I cannot approximate the number of people affected by the topic; however, I believe that the topic has had a significant impact on hundreds of aboriginal groups who felt that their contributions are never recognized. The topic is most likely to have affected them profoundly as it concerns most of the critical aspects of the societal development. Politics is one the pillars to be considered in state’s development and growth. The political factors can greatly influence social, cultural and economic development aspects; therefore, it is an important factor in a state. Therefore, to be able to understand the development, one must understand the political changes. Political factors affect the nation from various dimensions; therefore, everyone must be affected by this topic. For example, the economists need to understand the policy reforms and how they influence the world of business; Harper contributed greatly to the policy reforms that we have examined in this paper such as the rejection of Meech Lake Accord. Again, the social and cultural aspects are also affected by this topic; for instance, to be able to understand the development of social equity in Canada, one cannot ignore the contributions of Elijah Harper. Therefore, the topic about Elijah Harper affects everyone from every dimension as long as he/she is a member of the Canadian state.
Question five: Who were the people who influenced the topic?
Choosing a topic that was majorly based on the heroic experiences like the life of Elijah Harper’s was mainly influenced by the existence of the aboriginal or indigenous groups in Canada. For long, the aboriginal groups have been considered inferior to other groups; therefore, they have been denied the privileges that other people enjoy. Therefore, I was interested in understanding the root of the issue; thus, I chose the topic about Elijah Harper as aboriginal and minority group who has contributed significantly to the changes in Canada.
Dickason, O. P. (2005). The Many Faces of Canada’s History as It Relates to Aboriginal People. Walking a Tightrope: Aboriginal People and Their Representations, 2, 117.
Edin, K. (2007). Canadian natives from a post-colonial perspective in history textbooks.
Valaskakis, G. G. (2013). The Indian as artefact. Relocating cultural studies: Developments in theory and research, 155.
Winter, E. (2007). Bridging unequal relations, ethnic diversity, and the dream of unified nationhood: Multiculturalism in Canada. Zeitschrift für Kanada-Studien, 27(1), 1-20.