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Lecture: Uncommon Bonds and the Digital Return of Labrador Inuit Documentary Heritage

June 22, 2021 @ 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Online lecture via Zoom (please register by filling out the form below)
by Dr. Mark David Turner, Memorial University

In 1959, the community of Hebron in Labrador was forcibly resettled by the Moravian Church, Newfoundland Government and International Grenfell Association. The fifty-eight families that lived there were dispersed across the remaining communities of northern and central Labrador. The legacy of Hebron’s closure looms large in the recent history of the region. Less well known, however, is the story of the removal of tens of thousands of pages of church records from Labrador communities that same year. After the decision to close Hebron was announced, Moravian missionaries invited William Whiteley, an archivist-historian at Memorial University of Newfoundland, to assess records in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, North West River, Makkovik, Hopedale, Nain, and Hebron and remove them for processing, microfilming and, ultimately, storage at the Moravian Archives in Bethlehem, PA. Dating as far back as 1770, these records are a vital chronicle of community life, capturing subjects as diverse as language, genealogy, governance, education and weather, among many other things. With the support of a Council on Library and Information Resources Digitizing Hidden Collection Grant, the Uncommon Bonds project is facilitating the digital return of these records to northern Labrador. In this presentation, we will explore the history of this collection, our approach to digital curation and how our work is shaped by new Inuit-directed approaches in documentary heritage.

Mark David Turner is a cultural historian and facilitator working at the intersection of media, performing arts, and archival practice in the Northwest Atlantic and Circumpolar North. He currently serves as the Manager of Audio-Visual Archives and Media Literacy for both the Nunatsiavut Government and the Labrador Inuit-run broadcaster, OKâlaKatiget Society, and is an adjunct professor at Memorial University of Newfoundland’s School of Music.

Uncommon Bonds Reading List

How to access the Labrador Mission Stations record group (PDF)


June 22, 2021
4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
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41 West Locust Street
Bethlehem, PA 18018 United States