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The Labrador Kajak: a History and a Revival - Jamie Brake & Noah Nochasak

Part of:
1:15 PM, Sunday 6 Oct 2019 (30 minutes)
The kayak was an essential tool for Inuit in Labrador for hundreds of years. It was the key to economic success, it was essential for communication over long distances for much of the year and it facilitated both friendly and hostile interactions with other groups of people. Archaeology, archival records and oral history provide a wealth of information on the use of kayaks in Labrador that has only recently begun to receive focused scholarly attention through the efforts of the Nunatsiavut Government (NG).

In 2017 the NG established the Labrador Kayak Revival Program which involves making use of each of the categories of information just mentioned to construct and use skin on frame kayaks on this coast for the first time in more than a generation. The program is providing Nunatsiavut Inuit with opportunities to develop solid kayaking skills, and to increase knowledge of their own kayak history. After a decades long hiatus Inuit are once again able to receive kayak training in their home region from an introductory to advanced level. The program follows a Paddle Canada standard with additional locally developed components including rifle use from kayak and paddling in polynyas and at the sina. Participants have the opportunity to learn to build their own kayaks. The program also includes a significant research component which is producing valuable results including the documentation of relevant traditional knowledge through interviews with elders in the Inuit Communities.

Nunatsiavut Government
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