Inside Labrador Summer 2018

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Kayaking the Wunderstand

Drone photography in the Big Land


The Legend of Sedna

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Published by Downhome Inc. 43 James Lane, St. John’s, NL, A1E 3H3 1-888-588-6353 •

Editor Tobias Romaniuk Art Director Vince Marsh Graphic and Web Designer Cory Way Graphic Design Jeff Cave

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32 table of contents 6 Editor’s Note

44 Exploring the Legend of Sedna

8 A Bird’s Eye View

56 Style In Labrador

14 My Labrador Fishing Experience

Interior Designer Shelley Hodge

60 Kajait

18 Ain’t No Sale Like a Yard Sale

A history of the Labrador Kayak

22 A Satisfying Day’s Work Flying Helicopters in Labrador

62 The Lure of the Labrador Wild Remembering Hubbard’s journey

28 The Day We Toppled into Gilbert’s Bay 30 Readers’ Photo Album 32 Kayaking the Wonderstrands 40 The Art of Michael Massie

40 Cover: Rigolet. Courtesy Bird’s Eye Inc.




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Stories told so often, for so long, turn into legend.

Until, that is, they aren’t told anymore. It happens slowly, over a generation or more as people gradually stop telling the old stories until, eventually, nobody knows the stories because nobody has heard them. Then one day, somewhere far away, a curious person with an interest in old things and old stories starts digging around and finds an old church document on which a missionary had written down a local legend they’d been told. Being an academic sort, our curious researcher records their finds. Years later, a local folklorist - another curious sort who has made a career out of finding stories from the past - finds this research and weaves it into a story of rediscovery, in which we learn of a teacher who knew the story and told it to her students, keeping the legend alive for another generation. And so it is that the legend of Sedna, a tale told throughout the North, lives on and has been told to people who, otherwise, may have never heard the story. Dale Jarvis, the folklorist mentioned previously, brings this story to you in this issue. We’ve got a bunch of other great stories in this issue, too, including a look at the history of kayak use in Nain and a company in Rigolet that takes to the skies for a fresh perspective.

Tobias Romaniuk Editor Inside Labrador




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IT’S HARD TO GET AROUND IN LABRADOR. It’s hard to get a sense of such a vast, largely unexplored and wild place sometimes. Sure, you can hop aboard a snowmobile or ATV and get around the ground pretty good, depending on the weather. But it’s hard to get a good view without doling out big bucks on hiring the use of an airplane or helicopter.

Northern Ranger in Rigolet Bird’s Eye Inc. photo




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Eldred Allen knows this firsthand. With a background in Geographic Information Systems (GIS), Eldred’s profession was focused on collecting digital data, conducting analysis and generating maps. He is aware of how important knowing all of the information about a geographical area is to projects and research. When Eldred bought his first Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), or drone as most are referred to, he didn’t even think about the connection it would have to his work. He was just always interested in remote-controlled vehicles, but had never owned one. “After seeing a video online of a UAV/drone chasing a motorcycle autonomously, I decided to purchase one,” he says, adding that after having it for a while, he began to realize the potential uses for drones beyond personal entertainment. “In Labrador, it can be difficult to find quality data for GIS, especially high-resolution imagery. And it can be extremely costly to source acquiring data through a satellite imagery provider or traditional means of helicopter or airplane,” he notes. “Drones provide an easy-to-use, quick deployment platform that can capture high-


Eldred performs some maintenance on one of Bird’s Eye Inc.’s drones. resolution data for processing and analysis in a GIS. When I realized this, myself and my partner decided to start a business.” Eldred and his wife, Kristy Sheppard, who has a well-matched background in tourism management and economic development, began Bird’s Eye Inc., a 100 per cent Inuit-owned company, two years ago. Eldred has a varied background, including environmental monitoring, project management and law enforcement, and completed his latest degree in GIS in 2011. He also completed specialized training in UAV ground-school where he learned how to operate a drone safely within Canadian airspace.



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Bird’s Eye Inc. drone photo of Nain The couple has spent the past two years in business building a client base in Labrador. Their drone services are most frequently requested for imagery and videography from that bird’s-eye view. “Drones have the potential for taking amazing aerial imagery and video, which we also provide,” says Eldred. “And many clients are in search of quality material that is not available in Labrador.” Eldred is finding, however, that as clients are learning more about the ability of drones to capture data for GIS consumption and project management, they are getting more requests for these services as well. “We are also working on several projects offering GIS mapping support with data collection,” he notes. The company also captures and publishes 360-degree imagery for Google Maps and, more specifically, Google Street View. Bird’s Eye Inc. has attained Trusted Google Street View Photographer status and is the only company in Labrador with that special distinction. To date, the couple has worked on a number of projects, including drone infrastructure inspections, project site-mapping, wildlife videography, drone videos for media clients and 10


GIS project support. When asked what his favourite projects have been so far, Allen always comes back to those using drones. “Every project that requires the use of a drone is exciting,” he states, adding that flying the drone is the most enjoyable part of his job. “One of the most memorable [projects] to date was working with a film producer who was making a film about caribou and their importance to indigenous culture.” He says they flew in a helicopter up to northern Labrador, “in this amazing, beautiful landscape with massive fjords, and I captured aerial videography of caribou herds for inclusion in the project.” Using the drone to capture caribou behaviour allowed for a more realistic representation of the herds. “The caribou did not react negatively to the drone as they would have to using a more invasive helicopter to try and capture the same footage,” Eldred says. That’s not the only project that has Eldred amped up. Bird’s Eye Inc. is also providing GIS support to the Nunatsiavut Government on a project that has taken them to all of the communities along the coast of Labrador. “It is amazing to talk with community residents and learn how they use the SUMMER 2018

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land and resources and capture that data digitally,” says Eldred. “It really opens your eyes to how much of the Labrador coast is used by residents here and the importance it and the wildlife have to everyday life.” Some of Bird’s Eye Inc.’s services are a little more complex with their data collection and uses. “Our primary service offering is capturing drone data, be that pictures or video or for inclusion in GIS projects or for photogrammetric purposes,” says Eldred, going on to explain exactly what photogrammetry means.

immediate, safe and offers extremely high-resolution data. Most of the company’s work has been focused in northern Labrador over the past couple of years. “The caribou filming project has to be one of the more unique and scenic we have completed to date,” says Eldred. “This project was not far below the Torngat Mountains National Park in Labrador. The stark landscape, with beautiful fiords, was quite breathtaking.” He says that each part of the coast has spectacular scenery and wildlife, and that given how remote Labrador

Bird’s Eye Inc. drone photo of Rattler’s Bight Rocks Photogrammetry processes twodimensional images with a specialized software to produce three-dimensional and two-dimensional outputs, often used for project site planning and management. “The 2-D and 3-D outputs can be analyzed to assist in project management and to make critical decisions during a project’s lifespan,” explains Eldred. “For example, a 3-D model could be used to monitor site change, perform volumetric calculations or assist in project planning. A 2-D orthomosaic map can be digitized into GIS products and provide project overview.” He notes that he has found using a drone to capture this data is SUMMER 2018

is, not a lot of people get to experience it firsthand. “It is one of our goals to make Labrador more accessible digitally, through our drone pictures and video and 360-degree imagery on Google so more people can experience all Labrador has to offer,” says Eldred, noting they have captured many areas of Labrador already. “If you’re interested, you can walk the entire length of the Rigolet Boardwalk virtually in 360-degree views,” he says, adding that these are some of his favourite projects as well. “This produces an immersive, street-view experience, allowing clients to market and proinside LABRADOR


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Commerical applications of the drone technology includes photogrammetry and inspecting infrastructures such as powerlines and building damage. mote their business or area of interest within Google Maps or on their own websites.” This fall, Bird’s Eye Inc. is hoping to capture all Nunatsiavut communities in full street view and have them available for viewing in Google Maps. “I am looking forward to this project as it will give the outside world a glimpse of our beautiful communities and maybe inspire them to come and visit to experience it firsthand,” says Eldred excitedly. Bird’s Eye Inc. is also exploring using their drones to enter into the eco-tourism market. “We are preparing to offer a First-Person View (FPV) drone flight experience where a client wears a pair of FPV goggles, and through those, they see what the drone camera sees as it flies. This is a unique and non-invasive tourism

experience, giving clients a bird’s eye view of Labrador they might not get otherwise.” Flying drones for his business will never get old for Eldred who, in the past, has worked nine-to-five desk jobs on a computer. “One day, I put my drone on my back and drove on my motorcycle out to a project site to collect data for analysis,” remembers Eldred. “It was during this project that I really realized I loved using drones. They get me outside. I get to fly the drone and see sights from a vantage point most don’t get to experience.” He adds that he then gets to couple using the drone with his GIS background and perform data analysis. “It’s just a great fit for me overall… Each job has its own challenges and getting that diversity in projects allows for constant growth and learning.”

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AN AMERICAN MAGAZINE referred to Expo ’67 as “the Big Blast Up North.” That year I had my own blast up North, far away from Montreal’s crowds and pavilions: a fishing experience down on the Labrador.




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By 1967, the Labrador saltfish industry was winding down, as the factory-fishing super trawlers and fresh fish processing had been ongoing since the 1950s. We were floaters living on board our vessel, where we salted our catch on board and at season’s end brought it back to Newfoundland. My father-in-law was to be skipper, and his relatives had purchased the Arachat and outfitted her for the voyage. School was out, and on June 24, my wife Dora drove me from Gambo to Lewisporte where I spent the evening reminiscing with a friend from university days. Towards midnight he drove me to the dock to board the coastal boat Bonavista. When I purchased my $7.50 Fisherman’s Ticket, my friend was curious as to what it included, to which the purser responded, “Just his passage.” I looked around at the steerage section, which seemed rather crowded with families, and chose to hang around the first-class section. The next day the purser approached to inform me there was a cabin I could have. I mingled with some American tourists, and played the piano in the stateroom. The purser kept telling me I did not look like a fisherman. One dreadful fear I had was seasickness. As a young lad back home, I joined my classmate and his father on the squid-jigging ground once and was sick for two days. As we rounded Cape Bauld, crossing the Strait of Belle Isle heading towards Mary’s Harbour, the seas were violently rough. I was sitting alone enjoying my evening meal while many were outside leaning over the rail; it was such a relief to have my sea legs. On June 28 we reached Indian Islands, Groswater Bay, but the captain could not make contact with the Arachat. He finally reached a crew member of the Donna MacKensie who took me to the Arachat. I soon changed into fisherman’s gear and started to cut throats, then went to


The author’s “Fisherman’s Ticket” to board the coastal boat MV Bonavista, headed for Hopedale



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haul the traps; finally settling into deckhand. I was kept busy filling the boxes to keep three splitting tables going at full throttle. I also assisted the cook in preparing for a crew of 16. By July 12, our catch began to diminish; a decision was made to move north with 600 quintals salted down. It was no easy task taking up two cod traps and gear and storing it neatly to be used efficiently later up north. On July 15 at 2:30 p.m. we entered Hopedale, where some crew members sent telegrams while others climbed the cliffs to quench their thirst at the American base.

The vigorous work and long days of sunlight were good for body, mind and spirit. The next day we moved off Hopedale to a place they called “The Railroads,” where there were reports of a good sign of fish. The next morning, July 17, all hands were on deck at three, and by 9 a.m. two cod traps had been set. We had a very busy week while working long hours with insufficient sleep. Some crew members had to be treated for slub-burned hands, others were a physical wreck. We had 2,200 quintals salted down. But once again the traps produced diminishing returns and plans were underway to head still farther north toward Nain, to a place the fishermen called Cut Throat.



It was now August 10, which meant it was decision time for me. I had to be in Gander by September 1, since I had a teaching position there. I had just received word that I was a father, for the first time, of a son born a week earlier, which gave me an added incentive to go home. If I travelled further north it might be more difficult to arrange transportation home. My father-in-law knew a guy from Centerville working at Hopedale and made arrangements for me to stay with him overnight. The next day, August 11, I got the small Grenfell Mission plane to Goose Bay, from where I made connections to Gander. In retrospect, this trip was more rewarding than visiting Expo. The vigorous work and long days of sunlight were good for body, mind and spirit. I also had confirmation of the purser’s earlier evaluation of my not looking like a fisherman to acknowledging that I am not a fisherman. There is no correlation between a piece of chalk or textbook to foot ropes or net mending. I gained a greater appreciation of the nuances and the art of fishing. Living in close quarters with a group of men requires tact, give and take, while enjoying the friendly banter that helps lighten the burden. One also has a greater appreciation of our heritage; and of our ancestors who toiled to scrape a living from the sea, often against great odds, but always managed to maintain a sense of humour or dance a jig.


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ANNA GOUDIE guesses she must have been to at least 6,000 yard sales in her life in Happy Valley-Goose Bay. But she might be underestimating. Her love of scoping out the second-hand sales began at a young age and was handed down through her family. “I lived with my grandmother and she had a big garage sale and I was so overwhelmed with all the beautiful dishes she was selling,” says Anna, who was 13 at the time. Now 48, she remembers her grandmother only having one yard sale because she didn’t want to miss the other sales going on while she was hosting her own. She’s not sure why yard sales are such a huge tradition in Happy Valley-Goose Bay. “When my aunt Donna moved here from St. John’s 20 years ago she said, ‘they don’t know how to do garage sales in St. John’s.’” 18



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And they must be good. Anna goes to about 300 yard sales each summer with about 30 every Saturday. She says that easily half of the items in her house are yard-sale finds, as is 90 per cent of her wardrobe. “I don’t even know how to online shop,” she said with a laugh. “I just yard sale shop.” She’s out the door by 7:20 a.m. after checking her cousin’s yard sale list that she posts every Saturday. Those without an organized cousin who loves to yard sale find out where the sales are through a couple of reliable Facebook groups. Anna writes each address down strategically, grouping neighbourhoods together and noting places she wants to “hit first” because of the types of items she thinks might be there, depending on the owners. Over the past 20 years, she has scoped out yard sales by owners with kids the same age as her own so she could get some great toys or clothing at a fraction of the price. Her kids often go with her, but when they don’t want to get up that early, they’ll send her with a list. Anna admits that years ago, she caught herself starting to drive away from yard sales, having left her son behind. It happened twice in one day. She says she would just get so excited to head on to the next sale and assumed her kids had hopped in the car as eagerly as she had. There are, luckily, no hard feelings. Her husband often offers to drive so


Anna found this mantle lamp for just $2 at a recent yard sale. Anna can jump out faster and check the sales. Once she missed out on a pencil sketching of mummers because she was driving and took too long getting parked and out of the vehicle. Between one and four friends usually pile into the vehicle with her. “We have to be strategic with the vehicle because everyone has a spot in the truck for their finds,” Anna says. Often each will have a list of items they are looking for and they will help each other check them off the list as they each search for that hidden treasure. At the end of their shopping day, they have been known to do some trading with each other before taking their items home. It used to be a huge haul every weekend, but now Anna says she is



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trying to declutter and be more practical. “I’m trying to look for more repurposing items because I have enough.” Each year, Anna has a yard sale of her own, when she purges all the things that just don’t speak to her anymore. She sets it up in a very organized fashion, just like a store, she says. Shoes are in one spot, men’s and women’s clothing in their own corners, kitchen items in another, and toys have their own location as well. Denise McLean used to go to the yard sales in Happy Valley-Goose Bay every weekend before she broke her leg. “You’ve got to go just in case someone is selling that one little treasure you didn’t know you needed ’till you saw what a great deal it was,” she laughs. She says you know it’s become a problem, though, when you start taking things home and hiding them from your husband. “I have to ease it into the house over the next week,” she giggles. “Can’t let him think I bought another picture at a yard sale.” Denise says they often had their usual route. “We would start at the lower end of town and work our way up towards A&W. If you time it just right, you get there just in time for



breakfast with everyone bragging over their great finds over a coffee,” she says. The addresses are always important, Denise adds. If there was a sale in the older part of town, she would head there first in case there was “an antique that I didn’t know I was looking for, but really needed.” If she is looking for a particular item, like she was a couple of weeks ago when she needed a hand-mixer for the cabin, then she tends to focus her efforts of sales that are advertised as a “moving sale.” Denise says you really don’t need to go looking for what sales are posted or advertised. She usually just rides around town to see where vehicles are lined up. “You can be sure there’s a yard sale there,” she adds. Her cousin Bev Thomson has an entire section of her house that is all yard sale finds. She didn’t mean for it to happen. “As I bought things and moved things around, it just ended up like that,” she says. The eclectic corner includes three framed pictures, a very retro lamp, a two-tiered end table she painted coral, a rocker recliner, a Queen Anne-style chair in red velvet and two ottomans. “I go pretty much every Saturday morning,” Bev states, noting that her


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neighbour usually jumps in the passenger side every weekend. She says she used to come home with a whole trunk full, but has gradually calmed down and now only ends up with two or three special finds. Her latest treasure was an old mantle lamp she scored for $2. “I mean, I rarely miss a Saturday,” says Bev, a Mud Lake native who has really gotten into yard sale shopping in the past 10 years. “I like vintage things and people get rid of those things.” She also looks for books at yard sales, finding all her novels for a dollar or less. Bev also states that at least half of the items in her house are from yard sales. “I find some of the things I buy at yard sales are way better than the things you buy new,” she says. “I think that’s the drive to get up early on Saturday mornings. It’s about wondering what is out there today.” Last weekend, Bev attended the annual yard sale at the air force base. She says it is usually a great place to find anything you could ever want because most people are moving and just want to get rid of things. Her daughter was lucky enough to buy a


This cozy corner was sourced entirely from yard sales $5 canoe one year. After being to around 3,000 yard sales herself, Bev is preparing for her own annual sale, as she tries to downsize and be more particular on what she buys at other sales. “I either have to love it or need it,” she says. She doesn’t have a favourite item, though. She can’t choose between her red, rotarydial phone, oil lamps and old, vintage chairs. Maybe she’ll find her all-time favourite piece this weekend.



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WHEN GREG BAIKIE WAS YOUNG, living in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, he would see many helicopters flying around town helping to fight fires. That’s when he fell in love with the industry and decided he wanted to fly helicopters, too. He started his flight training in October 1976 in Oshawa, Ontario and graduated in March 1977 with a commercial helicopter licence. “As far as I know, I am the first Labradorian and Nunatsiavut beneficiary to do so,” says Greg, who immediately moved home and got a position with Universal Helicopters in Goose Bay. His job, like most new pilots, started with cleaning the hangar and the helicopters, fuelling them up and painting whatever needed painting. He just kept busy and worked hard. Soon, the company sent him to their parent company, Okanagan Helicopters, for 75 hours of mountain training. “It serves me to this day,” he says, “especially when I am in the Torngats.” For the last 41 years, Greg, who was born in North West River, has been flying in Labrador and in Newfoundland with Universal Helicopters. “Being so young in my career, I guess I SUMMER 2018

wanted to stay close to home,” says Greg, about choosing Labrador for his career. “Besides, Goose Bay was a fun place to live in the late ’70s and ’80s. There was a lot of flying in Labrador during that time, from bush to IFR [Instrument Flight Rules] offshore.” Greg has been flying both IFR aircraft, which use instruments to help guide the aircraft through visual challenges such as weather, darkness, and terrain, and keep track of other aircraft in the area; and Visual Flight Rules (VFR) aircraft, which use visual reference to fly and rely on the pilot’s ability to see the terrain, keeping an eye out for weather as well as other aircraft. “When I started, there was at least 20 VFR helicopters and a half-dozen or more IFR helicopters, such as S-61, Super Pumas, S-58, 212 and S-76,” he says, remembering how each was a different experience. “It was very busy inside LABRADOR


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and it didn’t take long to get hours.” He says 800 to 1,000 hours each year was the norm for pilots in those days in Labrador. Now, it’s more like 300 to 500 hours each year. One of his first jobs was working on the Lower Churchill Project, flying between Muskrat Falls and Gull Island. He worked a 10-year stint with the Churchill Falls (Labrador) Corporation as airport manager and pilot, which he found to be a completely new experience from all of his previous flying. “I worked with, and lived with, some great people who became close friends to this day,” Greg says. “The flying was completely different from the type of flying you do in the commercial world, where you are taught, and spend your career, avoiding transmission lines. Here, you have



to learn to fly under, around and on top of transmission lines. That took a while to get comfortable with.” He notes that the job was also a significant managerial experience as he was working within a government agency. “A friend of mine who handled the airport budget at the time, Gary Cobham, said, ‘Greg, you are in a different world now. Where you came from a world where you had to learn to make money, here you have to learn how to spend money.’ That cracked me up, but it certainly made sense.” The type of flying he gets to do keeps Greg in Labrador, noting how freeing the remoteness and uncluttered airspace is in The Big Land. “You can be flying for days and not hear from another aircraft,” he says, adding that all of that changed for a while in


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the mid-’80s and early ’90s when lowlevel fighter jet training started in Goose Bay. “Then it got very crowded with many near-misses between civilian aircraft and fighters,” he remembers. “Today, it’s back to normal. There’s not much activity unless you are close to a coastal community.” He’s worked through his fair share of challenges flying in Labrador. The weather, he says, is nice when it’s nice and bad when it’s bad. “Back in the early years, weather reports or forecasting was unreliable to poor, but the weatherman did the best interpretation he could with the information he had, and so we also relied on a trusted local person in a community on the coast with a phone call to get his or her eyeball weather.” Greg says it was always a case of flying into the


unknown, especially during the fall, winter and spring, when the weather systems were the worst. Besides the unpredictable and often consistently challenging weather, distances between fuel and shelter were vast, to say the least. There was no GPS technology to monitor location and time expectancy, he says, adding that, back then, you just used a map and your finger to follow along the route. “One of our pilots back then used to have a saying that there are two rules to live by when flying in Labrador,” Greg remembers. The first rule was to never fly past fuel without fuelling up, and the second was to never fly past food without filling your belly. “With the distances between fuel back then, you were always flying at the limit, sacrificing fuel for passengers or freight or vice versa,” says Greg. “Nowadays, you have much more powerful helicopters and/or more fuel available, so the risk is way less.” Although he notes there are far too many memorable stories of his years flying to share all at once, he has a few that stand out right now, and for good reason. His first revenue flight, defined as a flight that a customer pays for, as



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The first rule was to never fly past fuel without fuelling up, and the second was to never fly past food without filling your belly. opposed to one the company itself orders, was from Gander to Change Islands to pick up a pregnant woman and take her to Grand Falls-Windsor for a check-up. Enroute, the baby had other plans and decided to come early. As they were flying toward Botwood, Greg had to make an emergency landing to call for help and the



clinic doctor came just in time. “This is not a good experience for a 19-year-old pilot, but we got through it,” says Greg. “Back then, there was no nurse or doctor escorts, but I was assured that there would be after that flight.” More than 30 years later, he got an email from that very woman thanking him for his efforts and for not fainting. “We connected recently, and she showed me pictures of the baby,” Greg says. That baby now has children of her own. “That was definitely my most memorable flight then and now.” “Flying forestry for as many summers as I did between Lab West and Goose Bay area, or anywhere in Labrador with the forestry crews and water bomber crews, was some of my most satisfying work I did in my early years,” Greg recalls. His years spent flying in the Torngat Mountains were also some of the most memorable and challenging of his career, as he would spend weeks working out of Saglek with PetroCan’s offshore program doing onshore support for the drill rigs. “Every day was scary flying that helicopter up there in the winds or weather that came,” says Greg, who was just happy to land somewhere for the night unscathed. “But the Torngats


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were unbelievably beautiful to fly in when it was nice, and I’ve been to every piece of land up there, and everywhere in the province for that matter.” Now, flying a private helicopter through his long-time employer, Universal Helicopters, is something he thoroughly enjoys. He flies for a local business family that own Atlantic salmon camps and moose hunting camps throughout Labrador. Besides helping run the camps, he is also a flying guide and spends his days on the rivers in Labrador from June until the end of August. “The people I work for, the people I work with, and the guests we have every year make it all worthwhile,” says Greg. “And this work gives me the most satisfaction I’ve had yet. Even if there are times [very few] we don’t get a fish.” These days, life is more relaxing than the days of emergency landings, fighting with weather and delivering babies. “I have flown all across Canada, but the most comfortable place for me is Labrador and the island of Newfoundland,” Greg states. “There is no where I can go and not know someone or stay at someone’s house or


These days Greg acts as pilot and tour guide, bringing adventurers into the wilderness on hunting and fishing trips. shed or cabin.” He knows this variety and experience is unique to those he calls lucky enough to fly in Labrador. “The industry here is small and very close,” he notes. “We would not hesitate to offer advice or help a fellow pilot or maintenance engineer if able.” But Greg says it’s his family who has made the experience as enjoyable as it has been. He says his wife, Colleen, and kids have had to sacrifice the long periods of time with him away, and they don’t complain. “Life just chugs along in some cases, and it’s a comfort to know that everything is looked after while you’re gone.”



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BY THE MID-1990s, I had copyedited 11 of Benjamin W. Powell’s books. The Carbonear native had spent most of his life in Charlottetown, Labrador. We contacted each other by phone and letter countless times. But, we didn’t meet in person until the summer of 1995. One day, I called Uncle Ben, as he was familiarly known. “My son and I would like to visit you this summer,” I said. “Come on,” he responded. Late in July, eight-year-old Christopher and I drove to St. Anthony, where we boarded two planes on the tarmac before getting on the right one for Charlottetown! The short hops between St. Anthony, Mary’s Harbour, Fox Harbour-St. Lewis, William’s Harbour and Charlottetown were unique experiences. Uncle Ben and his daughter, Marie, met us at the airport. I recognized him immediately, having seen his picture on his books. I shook his hand and instinctively threw my arms around him. “You 28


must be Uncle Ben,” I said. “Mr. Janes.” He never called me by my first name. Christopher realized we were standing next to a living legend, the “father” of Charlottetown. From the start, the Powells treated us like a king and prince. The next day, Uncle Ben took us for a boat ride to Peter’s Brook. En route, he pointed out various spots of interest from his books, places which had previously meant little to me and which I had been unable to locate in time and space. We stopped in at Yellow Fox Island, where he pointed out a SUMMER 2018

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typical Inuit grave, dating from the late 19th century, created by rocks raised around the skeleton. A couple of bones remained. We reverently stood in silence, our heads bowed, as a sense of history enveloped us. A day later, Uncle Ben’s son, Irving, and grandson, Lewis Jr., took us aboard the Ramsey H. Powell for an unforgettable three-hour steam to Gilbert’s Bay. The five of us would long remember our journey, if for no other reason than when Christopher and I toppled into Gilbert’s Bay! We passed the natural rock formation, the Hole-in-the-Wall, continuing through the deserted communities of Occasional Harbour, Ship Harbour, Snook Cove, Fishing Ships Harbour (Christopher thought it was Fish ’n Chips Harbour!), Parsons’ Tickle and Winter Tickle, before heading up Gilbert’s Bay. The scenery around was breathtaking. The stark, harsh, granite cliffs and mountains bespoke the hardy spirit pioneers needed to survive in the Big Land. As we approached Uncle Ben’s fishing lodge, I observed two things. First, we were to anchor at a floating dock and, second, a narrow gangway led from dock to shore. Not a good scenario for someone who’s uneasy around water at the best of times! Naturally, I had to be brave for my son’s sake, and I certainly didn’t want to embarrass myself in front of the seasoned sailors. Christopher wondered how we would get ashore. We conferred briefly. “We’ll do it,” I said in a confident father’s voice. “You go first, and I’ll stand behind you, and place my SUMMER 2018

hands on your shoulders.” Father knows best. Or not. My plan sounded good in theory but, unknown to me, a single iron rod ran under three planks. Those walking the gangway had to step precariously in the middle of the boards. Christopher stepped onto the gangway, while I stood behind him and gingerly gripped his shoulders. “Okay,” I said, “let’s go.” He moved, and I moved. He was slim, his father not so much. I made a couple of tentative steps. My next step, on the outside of the planks, was the one that caused the upset. Seconds later, we both toppled into the bay! My immediate thought was my son. I heard his plaintive call, “Help! Help!” For a moment, I panicked, fighting to remain on the surface. Irving later told us that, when he realized we were wearing floater jackets, he didn’t worry about us. I stopped struggling. Neither of us could swim. We sucked in water. Christopher grabbed the gangway, while I began drifting away. “Grab the rope, Mr. Janes,” Irving called. Looking around, I saw the rope. I grabbed it and pulled myself ashore. Lewis walked out on the gangway and dragged Christopher out of the water. We did little fishing that afternoon, for it took about three hours for the sun to dry our clothing. While Christopher and I were removing our socks for drying, he said – although he denies it to this day – “That was fun, Dad. Can we do it again?” inside LABRADOR


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Readers’ Photo Album

A Winter World

Looking out over the Atlantic Ocean. From a vantage point near Charlottetown, Labrador KINDRA BLAKE Labrador City, NL




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Retreat to the Heat Beach over snow, any day!


Big Hearts from the BigLand

Christopher, Amanda, Sherri, Cynthia, KerriLynn – all from Labrador City – and Cindy from Halifax travelled to Haiti with the Fuller Centre to help build a home for the less fortunate. CINDY RODWAY Lawrencetown, NL




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PETE BARRETT sits in her

kayak at the mouth of Snack Cove, telling a story to the group she is leading of how Inuit had paddled into this coast some 400 or 500 years ago to the trading post that was once here. Now, in their modern-day, roto molded plastic kayaks, the group would follow that same route. Dipping her paddle into the water, Pete leads the group into the cove.




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Every time she has told this story to guests of her kayak touring outfit, Experience Labrador, the group has continued in silence, in awe of the history and the landscape, says Pete. The Labrador coast has a rich history of exploration, from the Inuit who have paddled these waters for centuries, to the Vikings, whose adventures were chronicled by Erik the Red, in which he named the long sandy beach the Wunderstrand. Or maybe


the Viking’s Wunderstrand is south of Cape Breton. It’s still a matter of scholarly debate. Regardless, today the 56-kilometre long beach in Labrador is known as the Wunderstrand. And the history of exploration continues, with Pete and her husband leading kayak tours and supporting adventurers in the region. And all that exploration has made for some great stories. “Oh my gosh,” says Pete, “I would



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say that the most interesting one I had was eight days of kayaking that took me from Cartwright…all the way to Indian Tickle, and then my husband came and picked us up by boat. “I had the guests from Ontario with me in front as we were coming out of one of the bays and my son and the other person were behind us. And so we were just chatting back and forth and we could see the whales in front of us and I was saying ‘Gee whiz, it’s just too bad that these guys behind are not having the experience that we’re having’ because the whales seemed to be just going with us, just in front of us. There were two whales and the two of us and they almost kept aligned with our boat.” After talking with the other paddlers, Pete realized they, too, had whales with them. “So apparently we had two whales in front of us and two whales behind us.”



The adventures with whales continued throughout the trip. “When we got to our final destination,” says Pete, “we were in fog for a long time and we were going to go around the head and go into the cove where we were going to stay until my husband picked us up at Indian Tickle. There was a whale in front of us guiding us the whole way in again...It was amazing. It was so, I don’t know. Everybody was just so in awe of it.” This was back in 2000, when they were figuring out where to take people up and down the coast. “We kayaked backwards from Indian Tickle back to Cartwright,” says Pete. “We were coming across Table Bay, and it was in the evening. The sun was not going down yet because it was in August, so we still had a lot of light. As we were paddling together , probably about 10 feet apart, in our kayaks, Continued page 36


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and a whale came up between us. My first thought was ‘oh my gosh, my son is over there and I can’t reach him,’ you know, if something should happen, the boat should tip, there’s a whale between us. He said afterwards his first thought was ‘oh my, there’s a whale between us. If something happens to Mom I can’t reach her because there’s a whale between us.’ “Then we just took a deep breath and pulled in our paddles and just waited, and it seemed like as if the whale was coming up and going with us, so we just moved off so the whale was between us and we were just paddling along and the whale was there, too. “Then after that it was amazing because we were actually kayaking toward the sunset and here was two red kayaks and a whale. And I’m sure if there was somebody close and they could have taken a picture it would have been awesome. But we didn’t even think of our cameras. We were just talking really low, almost as if we were thinking the whale could hear us.” As calm and tranquil as these experi-



ences sound, the Labrador Sea is not for beginners. The weather and sea conditions can change in an instant, says Pete, and you really need to know how to handle yourself in rough water. They’ve had guests with decades of experience paddling on the Great Lakes who, at the end of the trip, have admitted to Pete that they weren’t as prepared for the Labrador conditions as they thought they were.

Of course, it’s not all big water and nerve wracking conditions. Sandwich Bay, where Cartwright harbour is, has a relatively narrow opening bordered by islands, resulting in generally mellower water conditions. Out on Continued page 38


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the Wunderstrand, the stretch of coastline north of Cartwright, the next bit of land to the east is Ireland. There’s nothing to protect a paddler caught out in bad weather. But that lack of protective islands is also what makes the Wunderstrand a destination worth visiting, even if you’re not a paddler. A few years ago, Experience Labrador brought a group of surfers out there. They seemed to enjoy themselves, says Pete, and were able to find rollers worth surfing. These sorts of supported tours are increasing in popularity and offer adventurers a safety net of sorts. Experience Labrador will act as the emergency contact point and offers a range of services, including pick up



and drop off, daily check-up visits in their motor boat, and emergency broadcast monitoring. Even if travellers aren’t using their services, Pete encourages people to stop in for a visit before heading out. They’ll show people their charts, point out the danger spots, and give them a bit of local knowledge before heading out. No matter how you get out here – a boat of your own or a rental, a guided or self directed adventure, day trips or multi-day adventures – it’s worth the effort to experience paddling the coast, according to Pete. Kayaking in Labrador is truly magical, she says. And with some 50 years of experience paddling out of Cartwright, she still loves it.


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FOR NEARLY THREE DECADES, Michael Massie has been celebrating a fusion of cultures through art. The renowned sculptor and silversmith, originally from Happy Valley-Goose Bay, has both Inuit and Scottish roots, and aspects of his bicultural identity can be seen in his stone sculptures, ornate silver teapots and artisan jewelry. Michael’s work often tells stories of two very different worlds through art that is both traditional and contemporary, culturally significant and unconventional, baroque and natural. Michael left Labrador in the ’80s to pursue a formal arts education. He studied a variety of artforms including painting, printmaking, sculpturing, textiles, photography and jewelry-making at the College of the North Atlantic in Newfoundland where he received a certificate in Commercial Art. He went on to earn a Bachelor of Fine Arts from 40



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the Nova Scotia College of Arts and Design in Halifax in the early ’90s. It was there that he fine-tuned his skills as a silversmith. Michael recalls the moment he knew he wanted to work with metals. “A friend in Halifax was making jewelry and brought me to the jewelry studio. As soon as I walked in through the doors, that was it. I knew I was going to be there. It was the right atmosphere, I felt. I stopped printmaking, I stopped painting, and I just concentrated solely on making jewelry and metalwork.” While Michael’s academic focus was jewelry making, much of his career has been marked by ornate silver teapots with smooth bone or horn handles. The 56-year-old artist has made 89 teapots throughout his career, but none stand out in memory to him as much as the first. It was in 1990, when his class was instructed to make a hollow silver vessel. His grand-


mother, who had recently passed away, was an avid tea drinker and he decided to make a teapot in honour of her. “I knew after I made that first one, I would be making more,” he says. Each unique, handcrafted teapot takes between five to eight weeks from design to finish. “You’re working with flat pieces of silver. I do up a drawing for the teapot. Depending on what kind of piece it’s going to be, I’ll make a maquette from paper to make sure all the pieces fit. That gives me an idea of what it’s going to look like in hollow form.” He’s been represented by prestigious galleries in New York, Philadelphia, Connecticut and Vancouver, and his work is featured in the Smithsonian - National Museum of the American Indian, the National Gallery of Canada, the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto, the Heard Museum in Phoenix, and Vancouver’s



Spirit Wrestler Gallery

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famous indigenous airport collection. Michael’s art has garnered international praise and has been purchased by art collectors throughout the world. Michael says his inspiration takes many forms. His work is a reflection of his heritage, his experiences in life and stories passed down through generations by his ancestors. “They serve as a record to keep things in memory so people don’t forget,” he says. As an ode to his Inuit culture, themes of transformation and shamanism are prevalent throughout his stone carvings. He says the significance of shamans in helping a community find food or to heal people is an important part of his history and one he appreciates through his art.



In describing one of his carvings titled The Metaphysics of Me t a m o r p h o s i n g (left) he says, “For me, the power of the shaman and his ability to transform between man and creature has always fascinated me - and over the past number of years, I have tried to create the occasional piece which can visually represent an imagined form or idea from my own understanding.” This carving stands approximately 45 centimetres tall and is made from anhydrite (a crystal-like mineral), birch, bone, ebony, zebrano wood (a wood


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they were working on as they moved characterized by striped, zebra-like across the land. Michael believes these features), brown maple and blood forms of art were largely introduced by wood. In this piece, the shaman is in the south and later became accepted as the process of transforming into a waltraditional artforms. rus and a fish, and it shows a combina“Inuit art is any art made by an tion of man and animal features. Inuk. It can be photographs, drawMichael is currently represented by ings, whatever. You have to open up the Spirit Wrestler Gallery in Vancouyour mind. It doesn’t always have to ver, British Columbia. The gallery sperepresent Inuit culture,” Michael says. cializes in contemporary fine indige“We are free-thinking people. Art is nous art. While he identifies as an Inuit artist, his work has often been “Inuit art is any art made by an criticized for not being “Inuit Inuk. It can be photographs, enough.” “When I first started, sil- drawings, whatever. You have versmithing or jeweling wasn’t considered Inuit Art to open up your mind. It doesn’t because it wasn’t ‘tradition- always have to represent Inuit al,’” he says. Michael explains culture…” he would often face criticism at symposiums, conferences about exploring, art is about advenand workshops because his work didture, art is about expanding your n’t fit the mold of what was considmind and can be as open and free as ered “Inuit art.” you want it to be. It doesn’t matter if In the 1960s, when Inuit art became it doesn’t look like it’s Inuit. If it’s very popular, Michael says there was made by an Inuit person, then it’s an expectation that artwork would Inuit art.” Michael says while his art have a similar look and feel. Most colreflects his mixed heritage, he has lectors at the time wanted tapestries, never been restricted in his work. printmaking works or soapstone carv“Once you start forcing people to ings, and artists were strongly encourwork in a certain medium, that’s not aged to work in these mediums. It fair. It doesn’t matter what your culbecame accepted that these types of ture is or what part of the world you pieces were defined as “traditional come from. Art is about freedom. Art Inuit art.” It’s a definition that Michael is about expressing your ideas.” has challenged throughout his career. “As a nomadic people, they didn’t have Michael Massie’s art can be found at printmaking tools when they were on the Spirit Wrestler Gallery in Vancouthe land.” Michael says his ancestors ver, BC, also didn’t carry large heavy stones




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Once upon a time when the world was still new, humans and dogs were created to populate the land. Together they spread out across the north. One woman, the daughter of a hunter, spurned the advances of the men who came courting her. Instead, she married a dog. Her father was ashamed of her and put her in his umiak, an open skin boat. When they got far out to sea he threw her overboard, planning to be rid of her once and for all. The daughter seized hold of the boat, hoping to safe herself. Angered at this, the father cut off her fingers with his knife. The woman, known as Sedna, sank to the bottom of the ocean. But she did not die, and instead became the spirit of the sea, providing life to all sea animals. Her thumb became the walrus, her first finger the seal, and her middle finger the polar bear. She lives there to this day, in a sod house at the ocean’s bottom.

FROM ALASKA TO GREENLAND, indigenous storytellers have been recounting the exploits of Sedna for countless generations, and she is known by dozens of names. The Netsilik Inuit call her Nuliajuk, while in Iglulik she is known as Aiviliajoq - “She who gives useful things.” On Baffin Island she is known as Uinigumissuitung - “She who never wished to marry” while in Greenland she is known as Saittuma Uva - “Spirit of the sea depths” or Arnarkuagssak - “The Very Old Woman.”




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Sometimes she appears with a jacket hood always worn up, sometimes with only one eye or one pigtail. Sometimes she has no fingers, or is unable to walk; other times she is as tall as a giant, or takes on the look of an old hag. In some versions she marries a man who is able to transform into a crow or a fulmar, and her watery home is made of whale bones. In some stories, missing her fingers, she is unable to comb and braid her long hair, and her anger whips up the storms that plague hunters on the surface of the sea. She is sometimes depicted as half-woman, half-sea animal. Her story exists in a bewildering number of versions, but the tale that starts this article is one that was collected from the very northernmost part of Labrador over a century ago. In 1914, American anthropologist Ernest William Hawkes travelled to the coast of Labrador for the Geological Survey of Canada. He spent the early part of summer in Sandwich Bay and Hamilton Inlet, in an endeavour to map out the southern limit of the Labrador Inuit. He spent the remainder of the summer and autumn with the Carnegie Magnetic Expedition, continuing up the coast as far as Cape



Chidley at the northern tip of Labrador. It was there he encountered stories of the goddess whom the people of Killiniq referred to as “Oldwoman-who-lived-in-the-sea.” At Killiniq, the goddess took the form of an old woman whose home was at the bottom of the ocean. Occasionally, she would come up to breathe, usually across the strait near the shores of Tutjarluk (Resolution Island) off the southern tip of Baffin Island. Hawkes wrote in his report for the Geological Survey of Canada that Old-woman-who-lived-in-the-sea “controls everything that swims in the sea; the fish, the seals, and especially the polar bear. She must be appeased, else she would drive the polar bears northward to Tutjarluk where there are no hunters, or she might send a shark to eat their seals and cut up their nets, or make the codfish refuse to bite.” According to Hawkes, the Killiniq people did their best to keep Oldwoman-who-lived-in-the-sea happy, throwing their broken knives, wornout harpoon-heads, and pieces of meat and bone into the water as offerings. Today, there is no permanent settle-


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ment at Killiniq, and no one to appease Old-woman-who-lived-inthe-sea. But her stories live on, farther south along the Nunatsiavut coast. Not far from Makkovik, Kaipokok Bay runs inland between forested hills. The Hudson Bay Company established a trading post in the area, and it was a spot where Inuit traded furs in the fall, winter and spring. First known as “The Post,” it was renamed Postville in the 1940s by a pastor who established a school and a church in the area. The community has its own stories of the woman at the bottom of the sea. Ruth Jacque is the Community Economic Development and Tourism Officer with the Postville Inuit Community Government. Recently, she has been working on local projects to share traditional knowledge and oral history. Earlier in her career, she worked as a teacher. “I’m retired five years now,” she tells me. “For part of my career I taught junior high English. I created my own Inuit unit; I put together some


Inuit legends, and I included Sedna because that is the one that is most known around here.” Ruth used the story of Sedna to introduce her students to elements of literature like simile and metaphor, and to compare and contrast legends, fairy tales and creation stories from different cultures. I asked Ruth to tell me her version of Sedna’s story.

‘Sedna’s Ride” by artist Craig Paul depicts Sedna’s power over the oceans through her command of its creatures, in this case a dolphin. Birches Gallery photo



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“Sedna was married off, and the man she was married to could turn into a bird,” she tells me. “He didn’t treat her well, and she tried to leave home. Her father was bringing her back, and she either jumped overboard or he pushed her overboard. “When she was trying to get back in the boat, he cut off her fingers. Those fingers turned into the fish. He cut off her hands, and they turned into the seals. He cut off her arms and they turned into the whales. Now, she is the queen of the sea creatures.”

creation story! The students were used to creation stories being loving stories, and to see this violent creation myth was shocking to them.” Ruth worries that in Postville, there has not been much carry-over of some aspects of traditional knowledge, such as the old Inuit legends. “Those kinds of stories haven’t really been passed down,” she says. “But it’s very important, because those stories make us who we are.” While some of the Postville kids were unaware of Sedna, her story continues to have an impact “They were shocked at the violence on the cultural life of Labrador. of it, her father cutting off her “Several of the comfingers,” she adds. “It is a scary, munities, even our commonster-story creation story. munity, had drum dancing as part of the life It’s not a happy creation story!” skills class for the kids,” Ruth adds. “One of the For many of the Postville students, schools I went to, they did the story of learning the story of Sedna in Ruth’s Sedna in the drum dance. With the English class was the first time they drum dancing, it is the kind of story had heard of the goddess. Many of that you can act out. I think the viothem were surprised at some of the lence is part of the attraction!” more gruesome details of the tale. The drama inherent in the Sedna “They were shocked at the violence story has given inspiration to generaof it, her father cutting off her fintions of Labrador artists. Sedna in her gers,” she adds. “It is a scary, monstervarious forms has appeared in everystory creation story. It’s not a happy thing from drum dancing to drama,




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and from visual art to sculpture. Labrador artists continue to be inspired by the myth of Sedna, which allows them to explore the human world’s relationship with animals and nature, and speak to the strength of women in Inuit communities. In 1987, the OKâlaKatigêt Society reported on a play called “Shaman: The New Dawn” written and performed by Hopedale’s Nalujuk Players, and directed by Bill Wheaton at the Amos Comenius Memorial School. The production was based on information they collected from the

people of Hopedale, and on their own ideas. In the show, Diana Landry played the sea goddess. David Nochasak and Julius Jararuse portrayed shamans. Philip Hunter was, appropriately, the Hunter. May Flowers played the hunter’s daughter and a fish, while behind the scenes, Julius Basto and Wilson Onalik were responsible for the lighting effects. Rubina Pijogge produced the sound effects, matching the sounds to the mood of each scene. Craig Paul, an indigenous soapstone and antler carver born in Port Hope

‘Sedna and Friend” by artist Craig Paul Birches Gallery photo




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Simpson, is represented by the Birches Gallery. His work featured in the gallery includes two sculptural pieces based on the goddess’s legend: “Sedna and Friend” and “Sedna’s Ride.” In “Sedna and Friend” she lies in repose, her long hair hanging down across her torso, her fishy tail turned to one side. She cradles in her left arm one of her children, a seal. In “Sedna’s Ride” she is caught mid-dive to the ocean’s bottom, hitching a ride with a dolphin, her long hair flowing down her back. In 2016, a major Inuit Studies Conference was held in St. John’s. It brought together elders, knowledgebearers, researchers, artists, policymakers, students and others to explore the many ways tradition shapes our understanding and reflects social change. The cover of the conference program was based upon a 2003 painting “Becoming Sedna” by Heather Igloliorte, the original of which is now in the collection of the Nunatsiavut Government. It depicts Sedna descending through the sea with her eyes closed, her black hair plaited in two long braids, casting droplets of blood behind her from her fingerless hands. Sedna survived the harm done to



Artwork by Heather Igloliorte illustrating Sedna descending into the sea was used on the cover of a 2016 Inuit Studies conference program. her, made a home for herself in the harshest of places and was transformed in the process. Her story is one of resilience and rebirth, perhaps one of the reasons why Ruth Jacque picked it to teach her English class about the use of metaphor. We need stories like that in today’s world. As Ruth says, it is our stories that make us who we are.


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AS A SMALL CHILD, SHELLEY HODGE was more interested in drawing and colouring than anything else. While other kids were building train sets and playing in the sand, Shelley was experimenting with colours and designs. And when she wasn’t busy with crayons and paper, she was planning her next birthday party extravaganza, whether it was her own or a friend’s celebration. “I have always been creative and I am obsessed with colour,” says Shelley, who often likes to wear colourful jewelry as well as work with colour. SUMMER 2018



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Nowadays, Shelley still experiments with colours, draws up designs and plans unique events. In fact, she has built two businesses around her obsessions. She graduated Interior Design school in 2004 and worked in Ontario as a kitchen designer to gain some hands-on design experience. In 2006, Shelley decided to move home to Labrador City to offer her services in her hometown and province, and she incorporated Shelley Hodge Interiors in 2008. “I was an art student all through school,” says Shelley. “I knew I would do something creative in post-secondary school, but I wasn’t sure what it was.” She did a year of general studies to find out where she belonged in the creative world. “That’s when I learned about interior design,” she says, recalling her fascination. “Interior design was just becoming a popular topic on HGTV, with only two or three shows. It certainly wasn’t the massive market it is today.” With the growing interior design and decorating market, Shelley soon expanded her business in Labrador City by opening a giftware and home décor store, HOME, which allowed 54


her to operate the interior design business and both recommend and use the products they were selling in the store. “A few years into our store HOME, the opportunity came to expand again, offering wedding and event décor services,” says Shelley, adding that it was a natural avenue given her interior design background and access to inventory. “Plus, there was a real need for this service in our community.” Although the store is no longer open, both the interior design company of Shelley Hodge Interiors Inc. and the event design company of Inspired Events simultaneously operate to meet two markets within Labrador and online. “For me, it is the perfect balance between art and science to suit my creativity, but also my practical side,” says Shelley. The interior design business offers both residential and commercial interior design services. “Under that umbrella, there are an array of services, ranging from full project management, working drawings and floor plans, interior decorating and paint colour consultations,” says Shelley. “I’ve got a real knack for colour and SUMMER 2018

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colour interpretation, so it’s the service I seem to provide the most.” The event design business is a fullservice wedding and event design company that offers full wedding planning, décor installation, floral services and equipment rentals. Shelley is certified by the Wedding Planners Institute of Canada and an accredited event designer with the Institute of Wedding and Event Design, and brings her talents and knowledge to each and every event, big or small. “The event designing came very naturally,” remembers Shelley, adding that she is surprised her business didn’t start with that element. “As a child, I always had outra-


geous ideas on how to make my birthdays, and my friend’s birthdays, unique and fun for guests. And as I got older, I was on a lot of planning committees within my high school and college.” She loves the variety that both businesses provide. The projects and events are all so different and offer their own sets of challenges and goals. “I was a project manager and lead interior designer on a full home expansion and renovation a couple of years ago,” says Shelley. “I had a blank slate to work with and my clients trusted me to make the majority of the design and colour decisions. It means a lot when your clients put



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their faith in you and your expert knowledge.” The freedom to create is what makes each job unique. Shelley says, for example, that the wedding clients who hire her because of her style and talents end up with designs that flow naturally and result in many unexpected and breathtaking details. Shelley is always open to new experiences, which helps her grow as a designer and decorator. She is heading to Nunavut at the end of the summer on a teaching assignment with a high school event committee. “They have invited me to visit and teach them new skill sets related to event design, including the installation and care for their event equipment,” says Shelley, honoured she was asked. “I imagine it will be unlike any other professional experience I will have.” She says she considers herself lucky to be the only interior designer and wedding planner in Labrador. “I am very proud to offer my community the availability of having both of these professional services,” beams Shelley. “However, I struggle with burn out,



over commitment and, on occasion, anxiety. I strive to find the balance between service accessibility for my clients and taking care of myself. But speak to any entrepreneur and they’d tell you the same.” One of the main challenges she finds in business is the isolation of operating in Labrador and the availability of products and services. “A lot of preplanning goes into all of our projects to ensure we have what we need before we start so there are few to no delays during each project.” Shelley is a big supporter of the shop local movement and, as a past retailer, tries to lead by example as much as she can. “It’s a small business community and it’s important that we Continued page 58


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“The more you see and the more you do opens your eyes to more ideas…” work together on that,” she states. “However, for the same reasons of isolation and availability, it is often hard to find the items you need for projects.” She says that she exhausts the local options first, but if the items she needs or recommends to clients aren’t available in the community, she will



source them from wholesalers or from online retailers. When it comes to her style, Shelley isn’t shy. “I’ve been told in the past that I am sort of an enigma, which makes me smile,” she says. “While my style is very feminine, and my love for the etiquette, colour and whimsy of Kate Spade’s style runs deep, I love to be out of doors and can’t wait for my next boat or fishing trip.” Shelley jokes about being left over from another era because she also loves what is old and vintage in pretty much every avenue from vehicles to clothing to furniture. She says her own home is pretty laid back though. “My home is for easy living and for entertaining. It’s happy and colourful. We nap on the sofa and use all the dishes, even the good ones.” For Shelley, inspiration is everywhere. “The more you see and the more you do opens your eyes to more ideas,” she says. “I am an avid traveller and I attribute tolerance and exposure to a lot of my designs.” She adds that pushing the envelope and being openminded are good practices. “Just because we used a particular item traditionally, doesn’t mean it can’t be used for a different purpose going forward.”


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Kayak Existence and Numbers in Labrador BY JAMIE BRAKE AND NOAH NOCHASAK

KAYAKS (KAJAIT) are an important part of Inuit history and heritage in Labrador. Kayaks were essential for hunting, for transportation, and for moving information and ideas. Inuit were in Labrador for centuries before the introduction of writing in the region, and in those days all news and knowledge was transmitted by word of mouth. During open water seasons, information about what was happening in distant areas was moving up and down the coast, and was being passed from one settlement or camp to the next by kayakers. Following the introduction of writing in Labrador, the movement of information in this manner is exemplified by the routine use of kayaks to deliver mail, as shown in this excerpt from a 1794 letter: “You cannot conceive how great our pleasure was in perusing your kind letter of the 25th of May last, which we received on the 19th of August… This, and all other letters and diaries, destined for this place, were sent to us from Nain by a kajak, which arrived, when we least expected it, in a violent gale from the N. E.”




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Their presence bears similarity to the snow machines of today’s Labrador. Though kayaks are increasingly popular around the world, northern Labrador is one of the kayak’s traditional homelands. Kayaks are craft that allow a single person to go out on the water and travel long distances. The Labrador historical record provides numerous indications that skilled and fit people were capable of traveling 100 km within a day in good weather. The kayak’s intelligent design kept it low to the water, minimizing wind effects much more effectively than a flat or canoe. The narrowness of the kayak (Kajak in Inuktitut) aided in slicing through the water, in a forward direction. The narrowness of the kayak also allows more control or influence through the hips and lower legs. The one hole in the kayak, purposefully designed for human entry, has a high cockpit rim, called a ‘coaming’ to help stop water from entering. In Labrador and Ungava there were waterproof jackets, tuillik, which wrapped around the outside of the combing, blocking water entry. In northern Labrador much of the ocean turns to ice for most of the year.


Inuit made use of kayaks by bringing them to the ice edge to retrieve animals, mainly seals. A recording in Hebron relates “Inuit often place kayaks on a sledge and drive out a considerable distance until they reach open arm of the sea.” As long as one is perceptive and adept at reading ocean currents and weather patterns, one can minimize rough water risks surrounding ice. Labrador Moravian records provide us with valuable information on the importance of kayaking in the region. Theodore Levin Reichel and Benjamin LaTrobe, for example, counted the number of kayaks at each of the Moravian stations on the coast in 1861, 1876 and 1888. In 1861 there were a total of 214 kayaks in Hopedale, Nain, Okak and Hebron. They were by far the most common boats in



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use by Labrador Inuit at the time and they far outnumbered all other types combined. The total number of kayaks dropped to 154 in 1876; however, it rose again sharply by 1888, at which time the kayak was once again the most popular vessel amongst the Inuit in the Moravian communities. What led to this craft being built in such numbers across northern Labrador? People’s livelihood and hunting were based on them. Missionary accounts detail, “Most important to them for procuring their livelihood is the kayak.” In Memoirs from Northern Labrador (2015), respected Inuit elder Titus Joshua recounts that “They [Kajait] were very convenient for hunting.” As a result of information documented by Reichel in 1861, we know that on average there was more than one kayak per family in Hopedale and Nain in that year. It is interesting to compare this figure with the number of people who reported having access to boats in Nain during surveys done in 2010. Less than five per cent of participants reported having their own boats, and more than 70 per cent of participants reported having no



access to boats including through family or friends. According to a study by Kirk Dombrowski, a sociology professor at the University of NebraskaLincoln, access to things required for traditional subsistence activity “…is rare in Nain.” These data, though limited, suggest that, proportionally, far more Inuit families had access to kayaks historically than have access to boats or snow machines today. Local construction and use of kayaks could help to address barriers associated with access to the land and marine resources in Nunatsiavut today. Northern Labrador has a deep and rich history of kayak use. On occasion, kayaks were still constructed in Nain through firsthand knowledge until the 1970s. Through an experienced and skilled person, kayaks were and are useful for water travel.


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The Lure of the

Labrador Wild BY UNA GINN

Una writes “I am a faithful Downhome buyer. This is a poem I wrote in school on the book Lure of the Labrador Wild.” They started out with just three men, On a journey to return again. What was ahead was to their surprise, That the blowing snow would blind their eyes.

Hubbard lay down in his tent fast asleep While the rest went for help in the snow very deep. Hubbard was weak and he had to rest, He knew that the others would do their best.

With shortage of clothes and also food, The men found out, the weather was crude. They had no knowledge of where they were going The storm had started, it was really snowing.

When they decided to turn back, They had nothing to make not even a snack They looked for a snack they had left behind The old moldy caribou, but they thought it was fine.

They caught all kinds of fish and wild game, They also ate out in the open flame. All of the men were very tired, Sometimes even restarted their fires.

When Wallace and George went to get help, Hubbard was left all by himself. He had no food and it was very cold, When they found him, he was covered in snow.

Hubbard took lead in all they did do, He took care of himself and also his crew. They got stuck in the snow and also the ice, They realized the weather wasn’t too nice.

George boiled his boots over the night, For his life he was ready to fight. Then the next morning they ate all the leather, And hoped that soon he would feel better.

With flies so thick they bothered a lot, They didn’t know if they’d make it or not. As Hubbard would read from the Holy Bible And hoped that soon would come survival.

When the novel was getting close to the end, They went all the way back to New York again. It ended so tragic when Hubbard had died He was out of his punishment, all the rest survived.




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