Happy Anniversary! The First Anniversary of the Saskatchewan Rebellion Today

Today marks the first anniversary of the Saskatchewan Rebellion, which took place on April 14, 1990. This holiday is especially dear to my family because my great-grandfather, Landy Ungar, once belonged to this land that many of us aspired to someday own.

In 1884, Landy and his wife Emma were landlords of over 30 residents of the Lac La Ronge Indian Reserve. They owned some 150 square miles. In the spring of 1885, nine of those families decided that enough was enough and they rose up against Landy and his family in order to secure their right to be free. They called themselves Free Lenards.

Landy’s daughters Isabel and Anna both joined the rebellion. Isabel hid out on the railroad tracks to prevent his removal. Landy, meanwhile, was holding a gun to Emma’s head until they were both convinced to surrender. Anna was later found and killed by her father, but Isabel ended up escaping with the rest of the Free Lenards.

After struggling to find a non-Indian to adopt Isabel, Landy made a decision that changed his life and greatly impacted the future of the Prairie Nation: he agreed to adopt her. He became her third adoptive family member and, by following Anna and Isabel’s lead, he soon fell in love with the farming lifestyle in the Prairies. The families started a new life together on the Lac La Ronge Indian Reserve, where they created homes and established a new life for themselves.

It all came to an end on April 14, 1990, when the Free Lenards and their leader, Leonard Blain, were arrested and sentenced to decades in prison for their role in the uprising. The massive resentment of poor treatment by the white-run government and the failure of the non-Indian Indian population to take any action resulted in more than 1,000 Free Lenards joining the Canadian Indian Brotherhood (IBC). The IBC was what eventually made my great-grandfather the first Free Lenard leader from Lac La Ronge to have served prison time in Canada.

The Saskatoon rally on April 15, 1990, marked the first time people living on the reserve had the opportunity to voice their disdain for Indian policies with respect to the Standing Rock Sioux.

Since then, another generation of Free Lenards have been born and started a new land of their own.

Today marks the 30th anniversary of Leonard Blain’s assassination at the hands of a Cree police officer.

Today, I remain proud to call my great-grandfather, my great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-

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