Wow – what a trip! I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Nain. I don’t think I’ve ever been in such a stunningly beautiful community before. The cliffs, the water, the sky…it was gorgeous!
I arrived there on Monday afternoon, just in time for the conference meet and greet. Thank you to Provincial Airlines/Innu Mikun for their assistance in getting me to Nain. Without their help, I wouldn’t have been able to go. We at Them Days appreciate it very, very much.
A brief stop in Natuashish
Them Days is planning a special issue dedicated to language, so it was with that in mind that I went to the Sivuppialautta (“Let’s Move Forward”) Inuttitut language conference. I also brought along photos from the archive that needed identifying information, and I planned to gather stories about language (or anything else anybody wanted to tell me about).
A view of the Moravian Church from behind
Many people identified friends and family (and even themselves!) in the collection of photos I brought to Nain, and the display was a hit. Unfortunately, I did not manage to conduct any interviews with elders at the conference, about language or otherwise. I am disappointed that I was unable to fulfill all the tasks I had set out for myself, especially because I can’t get out to the coast very much.
Listening to the stories of our elders is (I think) the most important part of my job. Without their stories, their history and wisdom, what we know about the history of Labrador lacks the personal side that we hear through interviews. If you know of somebody who would like to share their stories, please let me know. I want to speak to an assortment of Labradorians, which is why it’s so important for me to get stories from everybody, not just people who live in the Happy Valley-Goose Bay area. If you have a relative visiting Happy Valley-Goose Bay from any part of Labrador, or if you yourself have a story to share with Them Days, I urge you to visit the office and introduce yourself! We welcome stories in Inuttitut and Innu-aimun in addition to English.
Now that I have met many people in Nain and from other communities on the coast, I hope that next time I go, I will be able to speak with many of them! Next time I won’t be just another stranger with a camera and a voice recorder.
An overcast day in Nain
Anyway, back on the topic of Nain – I can’t say enough good things about it. I’ve wanted to visit for a long time, and I’m glad to have visited for such an important conference. I was especially glad for the opportunity to refresh my Inuttitut knowledge, as rusty as it is. I can’t wait to start working on the special issue!
A view of Nain from above
Thank you to the community of Nain for your hospitality, and to Toni White, Carolynn Gosselin and Catheryn Andersen of Torngasok Cultural Centre for the invitation to Sivuppialautta, and for putting my interview sessions in the conference schedule. Special thanks go to Jessie Ford and family, Angus Andersen, Fran Williams and Ben Ponniuk for their support, suggestions and friendly faces. (And thanks to all those who I’m surely forgetting to name at the moment.) Thank you to everybody who helped me with my uncaptioned photos. Your assistance was invaluable. Nakumek!
I truly wish that I had been able to stay in Nain longer so I could enjoy the community even more. I will be back someday!
A rainbow over Nain on Tuesday evening