Labrador, The Hidden Land

As with its island neighbor Newfoundland, early settlement in Labrador was tied to the sea as demonstrated by the Montagnais, Innu and Inuit, although these peoples also made significant forays throughout the interior as well. European settlement was largely concentrated in coastal communities, particularly those south of Hamilton Inlet, and are among Canada's oldest European settlements. The Moravian Brethren of Herrnhut, Saxony first came to the Labrador Coast in 1760 to minister to the migratory Inuktuk tribes there. They founded Nain, Okak, Hebron, Hopedale and Makkovik. Extremely poor, both European and First Nations settlements along coastal Labrador came to benefit from cargo and relief vessels that were operated as part of the Grenfell Mission (see Wilfred Grenfell). Throughout the 20th century, coastal freighters and ferries operated initially by the Newfoundland Railway and later Canadian National Railway/CN Marine/Marine Atlantic became a critical lifeline for communities on the coast, which for the majority of that century, did not have any road connection with the rest of North America.


Labrador, On the Land, music and video ©2011 Richard Olsenius.

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