Inuit of Labrador
Content provided by: Danielle Matthews, in collaboration with Lyla Andrew, Winston C. White, Shirley Pye and Tim Borlase
Archaeological evidence suggests that there were many different groups of Inuit living in Northern Labrador about four thousand years ago.

Inuit are found in many places around the world such as Soviet Siberia, Alaska, Greenland and areas in the Canadian Arctic. While all Inuit speak related dialects of the Inuttut language, they each have distinct differences in technology, culture and social organization.

European and Canadian history named these peoples Eskimos (Eskimaux), a term which is still used in the United States of America. However in Labrador, these people are referred to as Inuit. Their history states that the Inuit of Labrador have always referred to themselves as Inuit, as opposed to eskimo.

The Inuit in Labrador account for roughly 20% of the region's total population.

In 1752, Moravian Missionaries from Europe travelled to Labrador to set up missions or stations in the region. These missions had a strong influence on the history of Northern Labrador.
The Importance of People in the Inuit Culture
In the past, the Inuit of Labrador were led and guided by Elders. Elders are older persons in the Inuit population who are respected for their vast knowledge in particular areas. These Elders hold considerable powers of authority and influence within their communities.

In the 1950s, government programs aimed to provide better education and health to the Inuit which resulted in the resettling of the people from Hebron and Nutak, to Nain, Hopedale, Makkovik, North West River and Goose Bay. With the resettlement program, Elders lost governance control, but are still highly respected and valued in Inuit communities. Prior to resettlement, migration routes, spawning, feeding, and nesting areas, determined where the Inuit lived and in what season.
Inuit Governance
The Labrador Inuit Association (LIA) was formed in 1975 to promote/protect the Inuit culture, language, traditional lands and to assist with land claims negotiations.

There are over 5300 members of the Labrador Inuit Association living in Nain, Hopedale, Postville, Makkovik, Rigolet and the Upper Lake Melville area.

The LIA headquarters is located in Nain. The Labrador Inuit Association has several affiliate organizations including the Labrador Inuit Development Corporation, Labrador Inuit Health Commission, Torngat Regional Housing Association, Torngasok Cultural Centre & Inuit Pathways.
The Language - Inuttut
Prior to Confederation, Inuttut was the language of daily activity. Modernization, exposure to changing values and education in provincial schools, led to a change in the language. Today, programs are emerging in the schools to teach students their native language in order to preserve the culture.

The Inuit are one with the land, the sea and its resources. Today, the importance of resources are re-emerging with development on the sea, in the forests and in the earth, with projects like Voisey's Bay.
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