During the first week of April I headed to Cartwright for a few days of photo identification events. My flight was delayed one day due to the weather but on Tuesday April 5th I flew into Cartwright on the medevac plane. That afternoon I went to the local 50+ club Marion Centre where eleven community members gathered to review photographs on the projector screen. There were 66 photographs identified that afternoon. In the evening the centre was hosting bingo so I went to meet some more people and play some bingo. It was a prize bingo and I was lucky enough to win twice.
On Wednesday and Thursday I went back to the centre where residents identified a lot more photographs. It was great to have a group of people together to look at the photos as they would remind each other of the events around a photograph and argue about who the people in a photo were until everyone was satisfied. We had a lot of slide photos from the Lockwood School and some from the Grenfell mission in St. Anthony. It was great to have these identified so they can be put in the right sections.
On Friday morning I met with an elderly couple in their home and showed them some photographs of their hometown. The wife was rather shy but the husband let me interview him a about growing up in Sandwich Bay, some of the jobs he has had over the years (fisherman, lumber worker, carpenter, etc.), and his relocation from Dove Brook to Cartwright.
I was supposed to fly out in the afternoon on Friday but the bad weather cancelled the flight. I took the opportunity to head to the Marion Centre again to meet with community members. Nine people dropped by to review the photos and when the time came supper they didn’t want to leave. We decided to come back for a couple of hours in the evening. A whopping 735 photographs were partially identified in the Sandwich Bay region! So it was a very productive trip!
I think some people would continue to come to the centre every day to look at photographs regardless of whether or not they needed to be identified. They just really enjoyed looking through pictures and telling stories about the people and events. The weather kept me in Cartwright over the weekend as well but I had some lovely meals at Judy Pardy’s home and it gave me the opportunity to put the finishing touches on my final work term report.
I have to say, I really love summer at Them Days because it’s nice to get so much done with the help of our summer students. It’s a time to get through backlogs, plough through piles of work, and feel really accomplished and part of a team. I’m always so sad when my summer students are gone in September. But anyway, now is not the time to think of that–it’s time to think of applying!!
As mentioned in my previous blog post I spent a little more than a week on the Labrador Coast bring the #IDThemDays project to Nain and Natuashish. The main part of my job was to meet with local people and have them identify as many unidentified photographs from their communities as possible.
The reason Aimee and I choose to book my travel dates during this time was that I was invited to the Mushuau Innu Gathering by Chief Gregory Rich. The Gathering is an annual event which takes place the week before Easter. Most families in the town head out on the land to camp together, attend meetings and church, hunt caribou, and pass on traditions and knowledge to a new generation.
On Monday lunch I was picked up by the family of Justine and Cajetan Rich and brought by snowmobile to the Gathering site about an hour outside of town. The tents were set up so once we unpacked I went around with two of Justine’s grandchildren to meet families at the Gathering. Although there was a snowstorm on Tuesday this is when I completed most of the identification work. I went tent to tent and met with families who identified photographs and told stories. I headed back to Natuashish on Wednesday as I was supposed to fly home to St. John’s for the Easter weekend. The snowstorm put the kibosh on that plan but I did get home a few days later.
I stayed at the Gathering for 2 nights and met with 8 families of approximately 40 people who identified over 130 photographs. For this event I brought printed photocopies of photographs in our collection as I camped with a family in a Labrador tent. Unfortunately the weather in Natuashish was bad this week and there was a large snowstorm. The caribou hunt, Easter games, and meetings were cancelled and many families did not travel to the Gathering due to the weather.
The Gathering was a great mix of new and old technology and passing on traditions to a new generation. There were store bought and hand sewn Labrador tents, foods such as partridge, Innu bread, and Vienna sausages were cooked on the camp stoves, and everywhere you looked there were signs of new and old traditions mingling. I strongly believe Gathering is an extremely important tradition and one which I hope and believe will continue for years to come.
It was a truly amazing experience which I am thankful to have had.
A huge thank you goes out to Justine Rich and family who were extremely generous and housed, and fed me while sharing their stories and traditions with me, to the staff and guests of the Natuashish hotel for their hospitality, to the woman who lent me a mattress to sleep on, to the RCMP for the ride to and from the airport, and to Robin McGrath and John Joy for their help before I set out.
I’ve recently returned from a trip to the coast of Labrador. During the week of March 17th to March 24th I travelled to Nain and Natuashish with the #IDThemDays Project. It was my first chance to head to the coast and also my first experience with a twin otter plane and on a snowmobile. I left Goose Bay on Thursday morning and arrived in Nain around lunch. I hitched a ride to the house where I was staying, had a sandwich for lunch and then I travelled to the Nunatsiavut Government Administration Building where I met with community elders in the board room.
There were seven people at the first identification session on Thursday afternoon and several of these elders returned the following morning to review more photographs of northern Labrador. There was one woman in particular who went through all the photographs from Nain northward I brought to be identified and still would have come back to look at more photographs! I met with seven elders on Friday and a further two on Saturday afternoon to identify photographs. There were many people who I would’ve loved to meet but unfortunately time and circumstances didn’t allow for it. However the people I met with were lovely and we enjoyed reviewing the photographs over a cup a tea. I had about 15 elders to the three sessions and they identified approximately 150 photographs.
It is always interesting to hear some of the stories that come out of looking through the photographs. We found a photo of Lisa’s , the community health worker, parents on their wedding day. Lisa had never seen the photograph and she doesn’t have any pictures of them so she was delighted to see this photo and I am delighted that I will be able to send one her way.
I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Nain. When I was not in meetings with elders I would borrow my host Fran’s dog and walk around exploring the landscape. The mountains that surround the community are beautiful and the people I met were wonderful. Although my time in the community was brief it was a wonderful experience!
I recently had the pleasure of talking to a few folks who were born and raised in Hebron, Labrador but were resettled in 1959. Hebron was a Moravian mission founded in 1831 and was the northernmost community in Labrador (at the time of resettlement). As one former resident said, “I don’t call it resettlement. I call it displacement.” This woman was describing how families split up and went to different communities in Labrador. Some family members went to Nain, or Hopedale, and others to Goose Bay. It is sad to hear about families having to relocate however in Newfoundland and Labrador this is a story which is told again and again and is something which still happens today.
I spent a morning with one woman, Andrea Webb, originally from Hebron who currently lives in Goose Bay, and she told me story after story about her time in Hebron. We looked at one photograph and this one photograph brought back memories of all aspects of her childhood. She described the photograph to me showing who lived where and what the different parts of the buildings were used for (church, missionaries quarters, government buildings, store, and school). One of the interesting parts of the church is the small building at the very end of the right side. This little red roofed building was called the “dead house” and it is where the dead were kept and the coffins were made.
Andrea also described the food they ate while living in Hebron. She told me how the porch in her house would be filled with dried fish, seal and caribou. Her father hunted and fished for this food however this food wasn’t for her family – instead the food was kept for elders in the community who were unable to hunt for themselves. Andrea described the foraging the children of the community would do. She pointed out a small island which the children would walk out to when the tide was low to pick blueberries, blackberries, red berries, and bake apples. The older children would play soccer, kickball, and softball on the flat field of Little Island while younger children played tag and monkey dancing. Andrea described the sandy beach on the right side of the church which was like the Florida Keys where children would sunbathe.
I heard similar stories from other people who lived in the community. It was incredibly interesting to hear the stories of Hebron and it is even more incredible when you consider how difficult it is for people to share these stories. While sharing the stories is painful for some people Andrea decided sharing Hebron stories is a project she would like to work on together with Them Days. She is interested in setting up an event with Them Days for the people of Hebron to look at old photographs and share stories of their time in Hebron. Andrea is interested in connecting with younger generation of children and grandchildren who have never known Hebron in order to share these stories with a new generation. If you are from Hebron and are interested in getting involved in viewing old photographs and sharing stories of Hebron with your children and grandchildren please contact Them Days at (709) 896-8531 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
 If anyone is able to let me know the correct spelling of the name of Little Island in Inuttitut I would love to add that to this blog post.
Hi everyone it’s Terra and it’s been a busy couple of weeks here at the office and beyond. The Labrador Winter Games took place in Happy Valley-Goose Bay from March 13th-19th and it was a busy week around town. There were lots of people travelling to Goose Bay from all over Labrador in order to participate the Winter Games which take place once every three years.
In order to bring the project to a wider audience I set up a couple of tables during two of the indoor events with photographs from the project. I had our portable projector and screen going with a slideshow of some unidentified digitized slide images from all over Labrador. I also brought some print photographs from our unidentified and undigitized collection. The print photographs were very popular when people stopped by and several photographs were identified. It was a great way to get out and spread the word about the project to communities who I am not able to visit during my time here in Labrador.
I had planned to attend to Northern Games which is the largest indoor event however the dates conflicted with my trip to the North Coast. I left Goose Bay on Thursday morning March 17th, 2016 and headed to Nain where I stayed for three days before heading to Natuashish for five days. I managed to get caught in a snowstorm and I was stuck in Natuashish for a few days longer but unfortunately due to the weather I wasn’t really able to use the extra time to my advantage. Stay tuned to the blog as I’ll post an update on this trip in the next couple of days!