Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Stuff gets around

Among the artefacts recovered this year at the Indian Harbour archaeological dig: a fragment of Basque roofing tile.

How'd it get there? trade? recycling? the Basques themselves? Either way, it's a good story!

Friday, June 24, 2011

All about the name

From Dr. Rollman's column in The Telegram, June 18th:

In our province, names among the Moravian Inuit of Labrador became quite important and exhibit some unique naming practices.

In the 18th and 19th centuries, when an adult Inuk became a Christian through baptism, he would receive a new Christian name. Kingminguse, the first Inuk baptized at Nain, was named Petrus, or Peter, on Feb. 19, 1776, a date still remembered today by a local holiday.

Likewise, in Okak, the first Christian couple to be baptized, on Aug. 29, 1778, by Brother Johann Ludwig Beck, were Tautudlek and Kablutsiak, who received the Christian names of Isaac and Elizabeth.
Full column.

Monday, June 20, 2011

100 years ago: June 20, 1911

Government Buys Them From Dr. Grenfell for Far North-West

Ottawa, June 20.—The Government of Canada has made addition to the transportation facilities of the country in the form of fifty reindeer. The purchase was made from Dr. Grenfell, of Labrador, who is being paid fifty-one dollars each for the animals. They will be taken from Labrador by boat to Quebec in September, and will go by train to Edmonton or to Athabasca Landing, if the Canadian Northern has rails down to that point, early in the autumn. Scows will be built to complete the journey down the Athabaska River to Fort Smith, which is the destination of the herd.

The reindeer have proved a great success in Labrador. The conditions have been found entirely suitable for them, and the original herd of three hundred have grown by natural increase to some twelve hundred. They have proved to be as good for travel as in Lapland, and their flesh and milk have proved a boon on more than one occasion.

It is believed that they will prove even more useful in the Canadian north, where dog teams are now used for winter travel.

— Toronto Star, June 20, 1911

Sunday, June 19, 2011

80 years ago: June 19, 1931

Explorer To Use Short Wave Sets

NEW YORK, June 19.—David Binney Putnam, youthful explorer and author, who will sail June 18 for Labrador and Iceland on a scientific expedition, will keep in touch with the United States and the rest of the world by short-wave radio and television receivers.

Putnam, who will be 18 a few days before he sails, will be second in command under Captain Desmond Holdridge of the Brooklyn Institute of Arts and Sciences. Putnam is to make ethnological collections in Labrador and Iceland.

The Johalla, a Nova Scotia 47-foot schooner, will be equipped with a gasoline engine and short wave radio and television receivers.

This will be Putnam's second trip to the sub-artic. The party will largely retrace the route of Leif Ericsson's pioneer journey.

— Painesville (Ohio) Telegraph, June 19, 1931

Saturday, June 18, 2011

80 years ago: June 18, 1931

Proposes to Develop Labrador Shell Deposits

Northern Products Co., which has been granted exclusive right to the export of marine shells from the coast of Labrador by the Newfoundland government, effective July 31, 1931, is considering shipments of shell to Newfoundland during the coming season in steamers with a capacity of 3,500 to 5,000 tons. Shell will be processed, and sacked at St. John's for shipment to foreign markets.

Some $100,000 has been spent to date on exploitation of markets, it is reported, and the company is now in a position to operate the deposits on the Labrador coast on a large scale. The marine shell industry is one of the chief industries in Florida and there is an annual world demand of some 1,000,000 tons of which the United States takes 400,000 tons. Development work undertaken by Northern Products Co. has been done by local capital.

Financial Post, June 18, 1931

Friday, June 17, 2011

80 years ago: June 17, 1931

Grenfell Opposes Sale of Labrador
Feels Disposal of Territory by Newfoundland Would Be Mistake

(By the Canadian Press.)

Halifax, N.S., June 16.—Reiterating his previously expressed opposition to any ssale of the Labrador by Newfoundland, Sir Wilfred Grenfell, here today en route from New York to St. John's, said such a sale would be a "regrettable error." Experts were needed to develop Labrador and Newfoundland, he said, and he had great respect for the potential wealth of the latter territory.

The general economic depression had hit Newfoundland hard and prices of fish and fur were very low, said Sir Wilfrid. Fishermen were experiencing difficulty in getting advances or loans.

Dr. Grenfell will conduct an aerial surve of the coast of Northern Labrador this summer for the purpose of aiding navigation north of the Strait of Belle Isle. Among other advantages, many attractions of the north would be available to tourists if a safe route north of the strait were found.

Aerial Chart Planned

Sydney, N.S., June 16.—En route to northern Labrador to chart that territory by aerial photography for Sir Wilfrid Grenfell, the Forbes expedition, consisting of the mother ship Ramah and two large and well equipped aeroplanes will arrive here about June 22, according to information reaching Sydney. It is unknown whether the plans will arrive from Boston under their own power or will be shipped here by freight and assembled for a takeoff from harbor waters.

Dr. Alexander Forbes, head of the expedition, is a scientist of Harvard University and chief of the Department of Physiology. His schooner, Ramah, is an up to date craft equipped to buck any ice that may be encountered along the coast. The sea planes will be especially adapted for work in the narrow northern harbors.

A drum of special fuel for the planes has been received here. Most of the summer's gas supply has been sent by steamer to St. John's, for further shipment to Labrador.

— Montreal Gazette, June 17, 1931

Thursday, June 16, 2011

100 years ago: June 16, 1911


Steamer Could Not Reach Labrador on Account of the Ice.

Canadian Press Despatch
St. John's, Nfld., June 16. — Prevented by ice from reaching the northern part of Labrador with provisions and other relief stores, the steamer Boethic, which is in the Labrador mail service, has returned to this port. The steamer put in at ports along the southern coast, but found no section requiring relief. In the spring there were reports that in some parts of Labrador the inhabitants were threatened with starvation.
—Toronto Star, June 16, 1911

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

80 years ago: June 15, 1931

Labrador, Perhaps

Hon. R.B. Bennett stated in the House of Commons (June 9) that the Dominion government is giving some attention to the question of the purchase of Labrador and will likely be taking an increasing interest in it in the future.

To date Newfoundland has not given much indication of desiring to sell its Labrador possession, but it is assumed that negotiations to that effect may soon be more likely, and since the area in question is so obviously a part of the Canadian domain, geographically, the chances for its some day coming into the dominion bounds are believed to be fairly good.

— Edmonton Journal, June 15, 1931

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

60 years ago: June 14, 1951

New Labrador Logging Operation 'Will Life People Out of Poverty'

St. John's, Nfld., June 14—Premier Smallwood announced today that European interests had signed an agreement to start a logging operation in the virgin forests of Lake Melville in Labrador.

Under the agreement a Swiss firm headed by Dr. Arthur Siegheim will cut 200,000 cords of pulpwood annually, pay a royalty directly to the government of $1,000,000.

The agreement is for 10 years and is renewable for another 10 years. A bill will be presented in the provincial legislature to ratify the agreement. Under the contract the new project will employ 1,500 men earning roughly $2,000,000 annually in wages.

The company will establish two [sic] with a view to having the loggers live there permanently with their families. A company plan will be brought in to assist the loggers in financing the building of their homes.

"This is the first step in opening up the vast, untapped resources of the northern territory of Labrador," Harold Horwood, the member of the provincial legislature for Labrador, said today referring to the announcement.

"It is the first real industry in Labrador," Mr. Horwood said, "and is the prelude to the establishment of other industries using wood as the raw material.

Mr. Horwood said "the new operations will centralize the white population of Labrador. Taking them from the poverty stricken areas around the coast and move Melville area. [sic] It will put money in their pockets and raise their standard of living tremendously."

— Toronto Star, June 14, 1951

Monday, June 13, 2011

55 years ago: June 13, 1956

Frobisher Is Placing Mines in Production; Still Looks for More

Latent assets of Frobisher Ltd. are being converted into producing operations as quickly as possible so as to provide future revenue, President A.J. Anderson told the annual meeting of shareholders.


In the Seal Lake area of Labrador, several hundred scattered medium to high-grade copper occurrences have been located within Frobisher's concession area. While none can be designated as orebodies, their frequency and strength of mineralization indicate important possibilities. Kennco Explorations (Canada) Ltd., a Kennecott Copper Corp. subsidiary, has joined Frobisher in the search for copper orebodies in the area. Kennecott will finance and conduct the 1956 exploration program.

Frobisher prospecting crews in Labrador have made a uranium discovery of some importance south and east of the original copper concession area. Sporadic, but high-grade, silver values were found associated with pitchblende at erratic intervals over a strike length of 1,800 feet.

Application has been made for an additional concession area of 290 square miles to permit investigation of this and other possible similar occurrences in the vicinity. Frobisher's 1956 Labrador program will be confined to detailed exploration of this occurrence and a search for other similar radioactive deposits.
— Toronto Globe and Mail, June 13, 1956

Sunday, June 12, 2011

75 years ago: June 12, 1936

Plan Mineral Survey of Western Labrador

Permission for a mineral survey of approximately 25,000 square miles in Western Labrador has been granted by the Government of Newfoundland to Weaver Minerals, Ltd. Work will be under the supervision of J.H. Colville, President of the company. A.H. McKay, President of McKay (Quebec) Exploration Ltd., is managing director.

J.A. Retty of the Dominion Geological Survey, will head the geological parties that are being put in the field immediately.

The air transportation will be undertaken by Newfoundland Skyways Ltd. Radio stations will be established at Northwest River on the Hamilton Inlet, the principal base of operations, and in the interior. Both aircraft and personnel will be equipped to undertake aerial photography and survey, in addition to transportation work. The pilots in charge of this work will be A.G. Sims and G.R. Spradbrow.

— Toronto Globe, June 12, 1936

Saturday, June 11, 2011

80 years ago: June 11, 1931

The old subject of Labrador ownership is revived by the announcement of Premier Bennett that Canada is considering its purchase. without much question, whatever money Newfoundland can get for the territory will be more useful than the property. If the negotiations become serious, however, a nice point will be raised in Newfoundland's authority to sell.

— Toronto Globe, June 11, 1931

Friday, June 10, 2011

60 years ago: June 10, 1951

Steel Firms Use Helicopters in Labrador Fields

Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co. and some other steel firms are planning to use helicopters in steel making.

More specifically, they'll use a helicopter to help find more iron ore and to get it to their blast furnaces.

Hollinger Ungava Transport Inc. of Mont Joli, Quebec, the line that furnishes the air transportation for the Labrador-Quebec iron ore development project has just bought a Bell helicopter for use in its exploration work. Henry J. Gates, one of its staff of pilots, has trained as a helicopter pilot.

The flying windmill is being used in the exploration work and also to help in building the $100,000,000 railroad which is being financed by Sheet & Tube, Republic Steel Corporation, and three other steel companies and other firms.

Sheet & Tube and Republic expect to begin getting some of the Labrador ore for their blast furnaces here within the next three or four years.

— Youngstown (Ohio) Vindicator, June 10, 1951

Thursday, June 9, 2011

125 years ago: June 9, 1886

A St. John, N'fd., correspondent writes:—The fishery on the banks has opened well; several vessels have arrived at Placentia from the banks, bringing each from 200 to 300 quintals of fish. On the other hand the Labrador fishery, which has been paying badly of late, will be greatly curtailed. Supplies, in many instances, have notified their dealers of their intention not to issue supplies for Labrador this year. The consequence will be that hundreds will be left ashore idle, having no means of proseceuting the fishery on Labrador, and at home there is only the poor resource of the shore fishery. It is reported that numbers are preparing to emigrate owing to the discouraging prospects. Too many of our people are employed in the fisheries, and far too few in agriculture.
— Manitoba Free Press, June 9, 1886