p. 2653
C


No. 1060.

POPULATION OF LABRADOR PENINSULA.
EXTRACTS FROM THE “ LABRADOR PENINSULA,BY ROBERT BELL, B.A., SC., M.D., LL.D., SCOTT. GEO. MAG., 1895, VOL. 11.



Population.—The figures in the tables below are derived from the following sources. The resident white population of the Atlantic coast, from Blanc Sablon northward, is from the Newfoundland Government census of 1891, and there has been little change since that time. Both the white and Indian populations from Blanc Sablon to the west end of Lake St. John are from the Dominion Government census of 1891, and there may have been some increase in the number of whites, but this is uncertain. The remainder of the Indian population is a good approximation to the number at present trading at the different posts of the Hudson Bay Company. Previous estimates have greatly overstated the number of the Indians of the interior. The Eskimo begin to be met with in straggling numbers at Hamilton Inlet, and they extend up the Atlantic coast, along Hudson Strait, and down the west coast as far as Cape Jones. The figure given for the coasts from Cape Chidley to Cape Jones was found by adding together my own estimates of the numbers at all their different settlements and camps, and it may, perhaps, be slightly under the mark. Some of these people hunt the reindeer at certain seasons a short distance inland on the barren grounds, but they all come to the coast as their homes. In 1860 there were 1,400 Eskimo belonging to all the Moravian settlements, and the numbers have remained almost stationary. The Secretary of the Moravian Missions in Labrador, referring to 1887, wrote to Dr. Packard: “ We reckon that there are less than 1,500 Eskimo on the strip of coast from Hamilton Inlet to Ungava.”

POPULATION OF THE LABRADOR PENINSULA.Numbers
Atlantic coast from Blanc Sablonto Cape Chidley—Whites 4,100
North shore of St. Lawrence from Blanc Sablon to Tadousac in 1891—Whites
7,915
Ditto—Indians
1,387
On north side of Saguenay and Lake St. John—Whites
1,324
Ditto—Indians
434
On east coast of Hudson Bay—Whites
40
Indians trading at Hamilton Inlet
  125
Ditto at Davis Inlet (Naskopies)
  230
Ditto at Fort Chimo (Naskopies)
    90
Ditto at Nitchiquan, Mistassini, and Waswanipi (all Montagnais)
  230
Crees and Montagnais trading at Rupert's House
  250
Ditto trading at other ports on east side of Hudson Bay
  270
——   1,195
Eskimo at and between Moravian settlements on Atlantic coast
1,400
Ditto, thence northward to Cape Chidley
50
Ditto from Cape Chidley to Cape Jones
650
———
18,495
———
Total white population (resident), 13,379 ; Indian, 3,016 ; Eskimo, 2,100.

p. 2654

Taking the area of the peninsula as 560,000 square miles this would only give one inhabitant to each 30 square miles of territory. It is estimated that at least 1,000 schooners, mostly from Newfoundland, proceed to the Atlantic coast of Labrador every summer to fish. Many of these carry several families, but at the rate of only ten persons to each schooner this would give a floating population of 10,000 during three months of each year. In addition to these a considerable number of tourists from the United States and elsewhere visit the coast every summer.
Moravian Missions.—The Unity of Moravian Brethren, or Unitas Fratrum, has six stations on the Atlantic Coast of Labrador for the benefit of the Eskimo. They are situated in the following order from south to north :—

Station.
Founded.
Number of
Eskimo in 1896.
Hopedale
1782
160
Zoar
1865
  90
Nain
1771
214
Okkak
1776
308
Hebron
1830
207
Ramah
1871
  71
____
1,050 

The late Rev. B. La Trobe, secretary in London of the Moravian Missions, said that there were in 1886 less than 1,500 Eskimo on the whole coast. If we allow 350 for those residing at various places between the mission stations, and 50 for those between Ramah and Cape Chidley, the whole number becomes 1,450, which is not far from correct for the present year (1895), as the numbers appear to have remained about stationary for a long time. These people have improved very much in their moral and spiritual character under the influence of the devoted missionaries, although their self-reliance and physical stamina are not equal to those of the heathen Eskimo of Hudson Strait. The Moravians endeavour to make the missions self-supporting as far as possible, and for this end they encourage the Eskimo to hunt foxes and other fur-bearing animals, for which purposes they lend them traps and supply ammunition, and then pay them fair prices for their returns. The mission ship, of which successive ones have been called the Harmony, visits the stations each summer for the purpose of bringing the outfits and taking back the produce of the year's trade. The natives speak German, and appear to be fond of their religious exercises, especially the singing. In 1893 some enterprising Americans transported upwards of fifty of them, including men, women and children, from Nain to Chicago, where they remained during the Columbian Exhibition. On their return, these simple children of nature would doubtless have endless stories to tell to their wondering relations.

No. 1061.
GEOGRAPHICAL CONSIDERATIONS.
By Professor J. W. GREGORY, F.R.S., D.SC.

Vide Vol. V, p. 2489

[1927lab]


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