needed in many areas
2, 1999, Gazette)
from Northwest River looking across at Sheshatshiu.
Photo by David Sorensen
the size and diversity of Labrador, its not surprising
there is plenty of research potential in this provinces
north. And while Memorial is engaged in research across many
disciplines in that region, people in Labrador suggested a raft
of other areas that need attention, at a workshop sponsored by
Memorial Labrador Institute last month.
Workshop was an opportunity for Memorial researchers to talk
about their work. But the workshop in Happy Valley-Goose Bay
Nov. 18-21 also gave local groups and individuals a chance to
point out opportunities in the northern part of the province.
want answers to pressing questions affecting their social and
economic well-being. They want information on subjects ranging
from schools, roads and hospitals to rocks, plants and animals.
Harvey Best, director of the Labrador Institute, said the goals
of the workshop to identify a list of projects to be pursued
and to develop dialogue between community and faculty
are also the goals of the Labrador Institute.
administrators Roger Nippard and Cal Patey were first up at the
workshop, pointing out the need for research support for northern
said that the assumed strengths of small rural schools
must be investigated as part of a concerted research agenda.
He was one of many speakers from Labrador to identify advances
in telecommunications as a key for the north.
pointed to the great potential for folklore studies in Labrador.
She said Memorials folklore department had combed Newfoundlands
bays and inlets over the past 30 years, collecting data on dialects,
music and storytelling, just to name a few areas. She said the
same could happen in Labrador.
for the study of dialect followed shortly after. Canon Derek
Thomas said hes been informally studying the distinctiveness
of Labrador Inuktitut, the language of the Inuit. He said even
a casual observer could see the influence of the Moravian missionaries
on the language of Labradors Inuit, but suggested a more
rigourous academic approach to studying the differences.
only Labradorians who presented ideas for research during the
Labrador Workshop. Dr. Hans Rollmann of Memorials Religious
Studies department gave a fascinating presentation about the
universitys vast archive of material from the Moravian
missionaries in Labrador.
Moravian missionaries set foot in Labrador in 1752 and by 1771
they had established their first permanent settlement in Nain.
To the benefit of future researchers, members of the German religious
order were meticulous record-keepers, he said. The result is
stacks of material about 18th and 19th century Labrador. And
they were not passive observers, explained Dr. Rollmann. For
150 years, they affected all aspects of aboriginal and settler
life in Labrador, he said.
With three major collections of material, Memorial has about
160 reels of microfilm containing Moravian archival material.
records are a unique window on Moravian, Inuit and Innu life.
Dr. Rollmann said these records offer an unique opportunity for
researchers. Among his suggestions for study was womens
studies Moravian women were active participants in missionary
work. He also pointed out that detailed scientific observations
contained in some of the material would be useful for comparative
scientific research today.
president Dr. Axel Meisen got into the act of suggesting research
ideas. Speaking dinner on Saturday night, Dr. Meisen said the
vast reserves of natural gas off the Labrador coast could bring
huge economic benefit to the people of Newfoundland and Labrador.
there are major technical problems getting natural gas from offshore
to markets, particularly in ice-infested northern waters.
MUN and C-CORE can get these problems solved, he
were many suggestions for research endeavours in Labrador, there
was also a note of caution. Larry Innes, an advisor to the Innu
Nation, said researchers must respect native people when conducting
research. That means consulting with them before carrying out
research in their communities. Mr. Innes also suggested disclosing
the nature of the research underway, respecting the intellectual
property rights of the Innu, incorporating Innu communities in
the research activity where possible, and reporting the results
of any research to the communities.
the people of Labrador was a unifying theme of speakers during
undertaken without consultation will not be a benefit to the
people of Labrador, said Yvonne Jones, MHA for Cartwright-LAnse