Our Rich Heritage
Discover Our Rich Heritage
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Our People
People have lived in Southern Labrador for over 9,000 years. From the earliest Maritime Archaic people to the present day population, descended from settlers and aboriginal people, the rich marine environment has provided a means of survival for Labrador communities. Our communities are built around that marine environment and a fishing culture. Labrador's present day aboriginal people are the Innu and the Inuit, living mainly in Northern and Central Labrador, and the Labrador Métis, who live mainly in Central and Southern Labrador. Our settler population came from the British Isles, the Channel Islands, and Newfoundland to fish for cod, mostly in the 19th century.

English is the language of Southern Labrador, but you'll be surprised when you hear it. It's not the English of Canadian television and radio, it's Newfoundland English, which has preserved many old words and turns of phrase, especially about the fishery, that the rest of the English speaking world has lost.
 
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Skills of Survival
Our culture of survival has been built on traditional skills from both our settler and aboriginal ancestors. A Labrador hunter today will tow an Inuit komatik (sled) behind his state-of-the-art snowmobile, have a pair of snowshoes adapted from an Innu model and wear a kossack, a windbreaker designed by Dr. Wilfred Grenfell, based on an Inuit design. His komatik, snowshoes and kossack will all have been homemade, by himself or someone in his family. Labradorians are very hardworking and innovative people. A fishermen has to be a carpenter and a mechanic, as well as being able to operate a computerized navigation system aboard his boat. More often than not, he built his own house as well.
 
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Traditional Way of Life
Traditional foods are still a big part of everyday life. Every family picks and preserves wild berries – partridgeberries (lingonberries) and bakeapples (cloudberries) being the local favourites. Wild game – moose, caribou and rabbit are common meals, and of course, fish and shellfish are favourites. Cod, scallop, crab, salmon and trout are all caught locally. Kids love pizza and fast food, though and we have restaurants in every community with something for everyone.

Traditional life is centered around the family and the community. Traditional culture is a strong part of the community still, and is preserved by heritage and community groups in collections of old stories and old ways. Community organizations and events are run by a vibrant volunteer sector. There are hundreds of volunteer committees that run recreational and cultural events in our communities. Every three years Labrador celebrates the Labrador Winter Games, a combination of traditional and modern winter sports events, and all communities host sports weekends to prepare their athletes for the games.
 
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Cultural Activities
Our historic sites host a number of cultural events, mostly from May to September, when the sites are open to visitors. Storytelling, plays, music, crafts and festivals are celebrated through the summer and early fall. Some of our historic places are very old, by North American standards. Europeans have been harvesting Labrador's resources since 1,000 AD, when the Vikings started cutting timber on the coast. Basque Whalers arrived in the early 16th century and spent more than 100 years in the region. After that, Labrador was part of New France, until 1759, when the English acquired this part of Canada. Many of the communities still have French names.
 
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Contemporary culture is also alive and well in Southern Labrador. Thanks to technology, young people here are as involved with global contemporary cultural as youth anywhere in the world. And Labradorians have a strong presence on the internet and on social networking platforms. Technology has proven to eliminate distance for our northern region, keeping us in touch with friends, family and interests around the world.
Visit our Photo Gallery to see more of Labrador's heritage.

You can also find lots of information on these Labrador websites: Destination Labrador, Labrador Coastal Drive and the Labrador Virtual Museum.
 
 

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