EXTRACTS FROM ADDRESS ENTITLED “ LIFE IN LABRADOR.”
BY REV. HENRY GORDON, OF CARTWRIGHT, LABRADOR.*
Internal evidence is available to show Labrador as the scene of long and bitter warfare between the Indians of the interior and the Esquimaux of the coast. Even to-day there is little love lost between the races. The first serious attempt to settle the coast of Labrador dates from the opening up of trade relations by Major Cartwright, some one hundred and fifty years ago. During sixteen years of varying fortunes, Cartwright did much to establish very friendly relations with the natives, and it may be said that from his day dates that gradual cross-breeding of English and Esquimaux which has produced the modern Labrador “ Livyere.” Out of a total population of some four thousand it is very doubtful if now one third is of pure Esquimaux blood, and the day will not be very long before the Esquimaux stock is totally eliminated from the coast.
The mode of life adopted by the Labrador native is one of extreme loneliness and isolation. Except for the few centres where the Trading Companies are established, there are scarcely any settlements of any size. Cartwright, one of the most important centres, has just fifteen families. In many cases, families are to be found as isolated units many miles from the nearest neighbour. This manner of life has tended to make the people extremely shy and adverse to society.
*Published in the Free Press, St. John's, Nfld., 5th June, 1923.