June 2008

Program Leader: Steven Johnson, associate professor of visual and communication arts

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The Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador is in the midst of transition. Decreases in fisheries are changing the way of life for the descendants of Europeans along the coast of the rugged island of Newfoundland. Meanwhile, the people of sub arctic Labrador, having suffered under resettlement programs, are reclaiming their ancestral homeland and aspects of their traditional culture via negotiations with the Canadian government.

Students explored how these various groups relate to the land and waters of this vast territory and examined the relationship between European and indigenous communities in terms of culture, economy and politics.

Through home stays, students became familiar with the Irish descendents of the tiny outport fishing village of Tilting, Newfoundland. In Hopedale, Labrador (part of the new Inuit autonomous region called Nunatsiavut) the group met with artists and community interpreters. Finally, we visited the cosmopolitan capitol city of St. John’s, and the wildly beautiful mountains and coastline of Gros Morne National Park.