Stephen Harper

CITE THE DIFFERENCE: Harper and Harper, 2 Honorary Chiefs

Stephen Harper PMO

Accomplishments (for lack of a better word)

  • Truth in Sentencing Act
  • Crime Bill 2011
  • Third Party Management sent to Attawapiskat
  • Proposed private property ownership of First Nations Land
  • Proposed Third Party Management of Education Funding (circa 2008)
  • Submitted a Residential School Apology
  • Admitted to foreign countries that there was no history of colonialism in Canada

Elijah Harper

Accomplishments (as taken from his website)

  • Elected chief of the Red Sucker Lake Indian Band (now Red Sucker Lake First Nation) at age 29.
  • Appointed to cabinet as Minister Without Portfolio Responsible for Native Affairs and later as Minister of Northern Affairs.
  • Blocked the Canadian constitutional amendment known as the Meech Lake Accord for “lack of adequate participation and recognition of Aboriginal people in that process.”
  • Won the Stanley Knowles Humanitarian Award (the same presented to Nelson Mandela of South Africa.)
  • Voted as the Newsmaker of the Year in Canada for 1990 by the Canadian Press.
  • In 1990, the Red Sucker Lake First Nation bestowed him the title of Honourary Chief for Life.

For more on Elijah Harper, please visit his website.

The Indian

So I decided to start some new paintings. Except this time I am doing things that I have never done for either a long time or something that I am not entirely comfortable with: mixed media/collage.

I found a copy of the Indian Act in my room after cleaning one day and I read over it. I decided to keep it because I figured I could use it. I wasn’t sure what I was going to use the Indian Act for or how but I knew I was going to use it. Yesterday I bought 3 new canvases and I finished the first one, which I call “The Indian.”

Yes, that’s the PM Harper’s face in the left hand corner and the rest of the “Indians” well, those are the guys from the hit group from Ireland called “The Indians.” During the summer I kept seeing all over facebook and twitter that the facebook group for “The Indians” should be banned because it was racist/offensive. I am not sure how that panned out. Anyways, I used part of the “Indian Act” here just the first section of it aka “definitions.”

Then I also added in other definitions. Those other words include:

  • Indian
  • Indigenous
  • Inmate
  • Indict

I choose those other words because of the following: Aboriginals now account for 18.5 per cent of federal inmates, but only 2.7 per cent of the Canadian population.

The article was written in 2006 but not much has changed. In fact, there was the “Truth in Sentencing Act” that was thought to believe to further harm and not help rates of Aboriginal people in prison. Also, the Canadian government has been looking at raising the fee to obtain a pardon. I wrote about that here. I also choose those words because there has been many different sections that have been since removed from The Indian Act that criminalized “Indians.” I used the picture of Harper and the “music group” because they are wearing traditional headdresses that are usually only worn by First Nations chiefs. Even though Harper received his from another First Nation chief, the “music group” did not. The 2 wear the traditional headdresses without really knowing what it means to be “Indian.” Not that being in prison is what it means to be Indian but the rate of Aboriginals in prison is not what it should be. The only way to help those rates is to gain a better understanding of why and developing better ways to help those who need it most.


PM Harper = Honorary Chief Harper?!

Today, I read a few tweets on my twitter feed claiming that PM Harper was named an “Honorary Chief of the First Nations Blood Tribe in Alberta”. I didn’t believe it until I actually saw PM Harper tweet it himself Wait! Why am I even following PM Harper?! (Well I am not so sure about him actually tweeting it HIMSELF or some intern or student hired for the time being, but you get my point).


Then I noticed that he was given this title because of his 2008 residential school apology.

The article reads:

The honorary Chieftainship was requested by Blood Tribe Chief Charles Weasel Head in response to the heartfelt apology in 2008 by the Prime Minister to former students of Indian Residential Schools.

So what does this exactly mean then? Being given the opportunity to be named an “Honorary Chief.” The article further states:

Honorary Chiefs are expected to help promote the cultural pride of the Blackfoot and Kainai and all First Nations. They are expected to maintain the headdress with the highest respect and be an available resource to First Nations.

I don’t even know what this all means. Hmmm, do you think other nations should follow suit?

To read the 2008 residential school apology given by PM Harper himself click HERE.

To view the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada website click HERE.