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Celebrating 250 years of the Historic British-Inuit Treaty of 1765

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The NunatuKavut Community Council (NCC) wishes to welcome friends and family, guests and dignitaries from across the country to the 250th Anniversary of the British-Inuit Treaty of 1765 set for Mary’s Harbour, Labrador. The celebrations begin tomorrow morning, Thurdsay August 20th and run until mid-day Friday August 21st.

250 years ago, Commodore Hugh Palliser, the first permanent Governor of the Colony of Newfoundland with approximately 800 British sailors and seamen met with some 400-500 Inuit of Labrador at Chateau Bay (near present day Henley Harbour) and agreed to enter into a relationship of peace and friendship. After decades of intense strife and conflict, the Treaty of 1765 ushered in an era of relative peace. The NCC honors the loss of life that ensued from this conflict and the solemn promises and rights that flow from this Treaty. The NunatuKavut Community Council is delighted to celebrate the quarter-millennium anniversary of formal relations between our “nations”. The people represented by the NCC are the modern day holders of these Treaty rights and the last Inuit in Canada to yet negotiate a modern land claims agreement.

“It is a momentous and historic time in the life of the Southern Inuit and indeed all people, says Todd Russell, President of the NunatuKavut Community Council. “For me personally it is also a deeply emotional time. My family are direct descendants of those who were present at the Treaty event 250 years ago. I am so proud that many other direct descendants of that time of the Kippenhuck, Tuttauk, and the Paulo families will be present at these celebrations. We will remember our ancestors who fought so we would always have a place to call home. We will celebrate the mothers and grandmothers who passed on a rich and beautiful culture that is alive and strong."

Celebrations will commence with an opening ceremony, the lighting of the kudlik (a traditional Inuit seal oil lamp), and community breakfast. There will be community tents representing different communities and the launching of the first ever NunatuKavut children’s book. There will be a grand feast of Atlantic Salmon prepared by local members, and an evening of entertainment, including drum dancing, throat singing, a Northern Games exhibition, music and presentations. A commemorative plaque will also be unveiled and preparation for its dedication near the site of the Treaty event at Chateau Bay along with a play dramatizing the Treaty and the life of the southern Inuit.

Representatives from national and provincial political parties, communities and educational institutions are just some of those who are making their way to the festivities.

NunatuKavut are welcoming all to come out and celebrate. More information on the celebrations can be found on the NunatuKavut Facebook page or on their website.

For more information, you can contact Frank Holley, Executive Assistant to the President, NCC, at 709-896-0592 ext. 225 or via email at executiveasst@nunatukavut.ca or admin@nunatukavut.ca. You may also visit the website at www.nunatukavut.ca

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