Settlers of Labrador
Content provided by: Danielle Matthews, in collaboration with Lyla Andrew, Winston C. White, Shirley Pye and Tim Borlase
Settler is a loosely defined term which has changed meanings significantly as other groups in Labrador gained aboriginal status and acknowledged their heritage. "Later Labradorians" who became permanent residents, moulded a way of life for themselves, drawing upon the thousands of years of adaptation by different groups of Inuit and Innu. All these people have combined their own knowledge with the experience of the aboriginal communities, to make their home in this northern environment.

Some say Settlers are ancestors of European countries, others say that Settlers are all 'non aboriginals' who live in Labrador, including those who come from the Island portion of the province as well as other areas in Canada. In either case, the origin of all Labrador settlers is vast and culturally diverse.
A Multitude of Origins
Fishermen from France began flocking to Labrador's south coast in the 1700's for both the cod and seal fisheries. Many of the communities frequented by the French fishermen still bear French names such as L'Anse au Loup and L'Anse au Clair. New France outposts extended north to include North West River and Rigolet, where trading posts were set up in 1743 by Louis Fornel. A war between France and Britain in the 1750s interrupted trading and the fishery. Later, fishermen from England and the island of Newfoundland, who had previously used Labrador as a seasonal home, established permanent residence along the bays and inlets.

In 1834, a Hudson's Bay Company employee set out to find an overland route between posts on Ungava Bay and the Gulf of St. Lawrence. In 1836, the Hudson's Bay Company came to Labrador. Many of their employees settled in Labrador and when their contracts ended they stayed and adapted to local ways of life.

World War II also had a dramatic impact on Labrador. In 1941, the Canadian military built an air force base in Goose Bay. This was a great economic boost, as many of the fishermen and trappers that were struggling were offered steady jobs and good wages to build the air force base. The base continues to draw military personnel from many different nationalities for tactical training.

Labrador City and Wabush are communities where the economy is centered around iron ore mining. These two towns were established in the 1950s and 1960s. Today, the iron ore mines of these two communities account for a large portion of the iron ore production in Canada. The Churchill Falls Hydro Project, in the center of Labrador, began development in the 1960s with full production commencing in 1971. The hydro power produced in Churchill Falls supplies portions of the province, other parts of the country and North America.

All of these industrial activities in Labrador City, Wabush and Churchill Falls employ many trained people from other parts of the province, the country, and the globe.

Aside from industrial development, there are many professional service providers seeking challenge and adventure, including teachers, doctors, nurses, social workers and others, which result in a large influx of 'settlers' to Labrador, thus creating a diverse population in the region.
Ashini, D. (1997). Nitassinan Before the Europeans - A Presentation to Cabot and His World Symposium. Labrador: Canada, Unpublished Abstract.

Blake, W. (1997). Adjusting to a New Environment - Cross Cultural Education Series. Labrador: Canada, Unpublished Abstract.

Borlase, Tim.(1994). The Labrador Settlers, Metis and Kablunangajuit. Labrador East Integrated School Board.

Gilbert, B. (1995). What is Cultural Awareness? Labrador: Canada, Unpublished Abstract.

Montague, W. & Murray, C. Cultural Diversity Awareness: Skills for Developing Sensitivity to and Interaction with People of Different Cultures. Labrador: Canada

Morgan, I. Discovering Similarities. Labrador: Canada. Unknown Source.

National Museum of Man, National Museums of Canada & Government of Canada. Native Contributions to Present-Day Life. Labrador: Canada. Unknown Source.

Obed, Ellen. Common Threads in Inuit Culture. Labrador: Canada. Unknown Source.

Qitsuali, R. (1998). Commentary: What Exactly is an Elder? Special to Nunatsiaq News. Labrador: Canada

RCMP/GRC. Cross Cultural Education: Selection of Readings. Labrador: Canada

White, W. (1996). Labrador Footprints - parts 1-8. Special to The Evening Telegram. St. John's, Canada.
Additional Links

Webmaster Login