At an event today in Regina, Canada Post unveiled a new commemorative stamp recognizing the accomplishments of Métis leader Harry Daniels. A politician, activist, writer and actor, Daniels dedicated his life to the rights and well-being of Métis and non-status Indians in Canada.
This is one of three stamps that will officially be released on June 21 – National Indigenous Peoples Day – in recognition of the contributions each Indigenous leader has made to their communities.
About Harry Daniels
Born in Regina Beach, Saskatchewan, Daniels (1940-2004) – known for his quick wit and joie de vivre – served as an outspoken advocate for his people for more than 40 years. Many consider his contributions to Métis rights to be without equal in modern-day Canada.
First elected to office in 1972 as vice-president of the Métis Association of Alberta (now Métis Nation of Alberta), Daniels would go on to represent Indigenous and Métis Peoples provincially, nationally and internationally. He was elected secretary-treasurer of the Native Council of Canada (now Congress of Aboriginal Peoples) in 1974 and later served as its president and chief executive officer.
One of Daniels’ most important contributions was successfully leading an effort to convince the federal government to enshrine the inherent rights of Métis and non-status Indians in the new Constitution. As a result, Métis are included, along with First Nations (named as Indians) and Inuit, as Indigenous (identified as Aboriginal) Peoples in the Constitution Act, 1982.
For Daniels, however, constitutional recognition was just a first step. Since 1867, the federal government had recognized only “status Indians” as being its jurisdictional responsibility. The provincial governments had also not claimed responsibility for Métis and non-status Indians. To this end, in 1999, Daniels and several other plaintiffs launched Daniels v. Canada to determine the federal government’s relationship with the two groups. The case was not decided until 2016, 12 years after Daniels’ death, when the Supreme Court upheld the Federal Court ruling that Métis and non-status Indians are Indians under the British North America Act, 1867, and therefore, come under the federal government’s jurisdiction.
Over his lifetime, Daniels wrote several books on Métis issues and many articles and papers on the Constitution and Indigenous rights. An actor of both stage and film, he also held degrees from the University of Saskatchewan, Carleton University and the University of Ottawa (honorary doctorate). During his later years, he taught Métis history at the University of Saskatchewan and guest lectured at universities across Canada. In March 2004, Daniels was awarded the Order of the Métis Nation by the Métis National Council.
About the Indigenous Leaders stamp series
This stamp set is the inaugural release in Canada Post’s new multi-year Indigenous Leaders series. On June 21 – National Indigenous Peoples Day – Canada Post will issue three stamps in honour of Indigenous leaders Harry Daniels, Chief Marie-Anne Day Walker-Pelletier and Jose Kusugak.
This week, two more stamp unveiling events will be held:
- On June 14, the stamp commemorating Jose Kusugak will be unveiled at an event in Rankin Inlet, Nunavut.
- On June 15, the stamp honouring Chief Marie-Anne Day Walker-Pelletier will be unveiled at an event in Fort Qu’Appelle, Sask.
Stamps and collectibles will be available at canadapost.ca and postal outlets across Canada beginning June 21.