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Memorable Manitobans: John Joseph Harper (1951-1988)

Aboriginal leader.

He was executive director of the Island Lake Tribal Council for over four years when, in 1988, he and Winnipeg police constable Robert Cross scuffled after he was mistaken for a young car thief. Harper was killed by the officer’s pistol. Cross was exonerated but the case became symbolic for Aboriginal leaders as an illustration of police abuse and helped lead to the Manitoba Aboriginal Justice Inquiry led by judges Alvin Chown Hamilton and C. Murray Sinclair.


Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 11 March 1988, page 44.

Dictionary of Manitoba Biography by John M. “Jack” Bumsted, Winnipeg: University of Manitoba Press, 1999.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 9 December 2020

Memorable Manitobans

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