Following the Red Path
The Native People's Caravan
Publisher: N.C. Press Limited, Toronto, Canada
Year Published: 1979
Pages: 93pp Price: 7.95
Resource Type: Book
Cx Number: CX966
An account of the Native People's Caravan, a cross Canada trek to raise awareness of broken treaties and grievances against the Canadian government.
Abstract: This book is a first-person account of the Native People's Caravan by one of its members and co-founders. Vern Harper tells the story of the Caravan in the narrative style of the Native oral tradition, recounting its origins, the obstacles it overcame as it travelled across the country, and the learning experience it provided for the people on the Caravan.
On September 30, 1974, the Native People's Caravan arrived in Ottawa for the thirtieth official opening of the Canadian Parliament. The caravan had set out from Vancouver only two weeks before, with little advance planning and no official funding. The purpose of that visit was to talk about housing, education, and health care, but when the people of the Caravan arrived on Parliament Hill, the Prime Minister refused to meet them. Instead they were charged by helmeted, club-swinging, riot-trained police.
The Native People's Caravan marked the climax of a dramatic period of Native militancy, closely following the occupation of Anicinabe Park and the road blockade at Cache creek. In Following the Red Path, Vern Harper discusses both the history of the Native movement and its future. He states that the movement has been on an upswing since 1974-though it has not always been in the headlines. Native people have been working in their communities and building their organizations, developing their political skills for future struggle.
And, the author emphasizes, "many of us are going back to the sacred ways of our people." In the conclusion to his book, Vern Harper discusses the connections between the political and spiritual aspects of the movement, and his belief that the road to Native Nationhood lies in following the red path of Native spiritualism.