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Yaffle your next project

By Rebecca Cohoe

Yaffle.ca is Memorial's online connecting tool. One of its most significant jobs is to provide a way for people from outside Memorial to ask for research help from the university. With hundreds of community-suggested opportunities to choose from, your next project is just a click away. Here's one . . .

The opportunity:
Gambo is perhaps best known for being the birthplace of Joey Smallwood; however, there are plenty of other interesting characters in the town's history books. According to April Hunt, manager of the Smallwood Era Development Corporation (SEDCOR), one of the lesser known but equally interesting stories is that of Mi'kmaq settlers who first came to the area around 1780. While there is no contemporary Mi'kmaq population in Gambo, one of the most compelling historic areas in the town is a burial ground located just off a popular walking path called Madeline's Trail.

"It's part of our heritage and it's overlooked. A lot of youth around here wouldn't even know that it exists," said Ms. Hunt.

The town has designated the burial ground a historic area, and SEDCOR is working to gain provincial and federal heritage site designation.

"We're taking steps now to find ways to respectfully share the site and culture, while maintaining the integrity of the site."

The project:
When you get to the site, there's not a whole lot to see. Ms. Hunt is looking for a researcher to help develop the site, making it better reflect the way it would have looked in the past.

"There's a chain link fence around the cemetery and there's a small sign," she said. "I think a pretty broad spectrum of people could find this interesting -- history, folklore, and archaeology would be the clear choices, but I wouldn't want to make it too specific."

According to Ms. Hunt, the project could be primarily undertaken remotely; however, the researcher would also get to spend some time in Gambo.

"They'd come out here to see the site, and envision what it might have looked like in the past. They'd need to talk to the locals -- there are some people who still have memories of the Mi'kmaq here."

Ultimately, Ms. Hunt wants to offer visitors a look back in history.

"I would like to see the burial ground done in an authentic way that respectfully showcases the culture of the Mi'kmaq people. It would bring you back in time, and make you feel connected to the past."

Interested in learning more about this project? Bojan Fürst, manager of knowledge mobilization at the Harris Centre, would love to tell you more. Call him at 709-864-2120 or email him at bfurst@mun.ca.

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