Struggling to Be Themselves

Elijah Harper, a Cree-Ojibway Indian and legislator in the province of Manitoba, became a hero to Canadian Indians and Inuit two years ago when he brought the machinery of national constitutional reform to a halt. His decisive no in the Manitoba legislative assembly not only doomed a complex pact designed to put the Canadian confederation on a new footing but also sent the country's political leadership back to the drawing board. Spurred in part by the Manitoban's stubborn stand, federal and provincial leaders agreed for the first time that a revised constitution must recognize native peoples' "inherent right to self-government."

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