Our Dear partners,
We are preparing for our second trip to the Mushuau Innu community of Natuashish on the Labrador coast. As most of you remember, this community is closely related to the Naskapi in the interior; in fact their recent ancestors were the nomadic caribou-hunting families of the barren grounds of what is now Quebec and Labrador. Some of these families centered their trading around Kuujjuaq (Fort Chimo) near Ungava Bay and the rest were settled around Utshimassits (Davis Inlet) on the Labrador coast, since the early 1900s.
The Fort Chimo group moved to the Schefferville region in 1956, and they are now the Naskapi of Kawawachikamach.
The Davis Inlet group relocated to Natuashish, a new community built on the mainland in 2002.
The Mushuau Innu community is well known in Canada because of widely publicized social problems:
Because of their shared history, the Naskapi language spoken where we work in Kawawachikamach is very close to the speech variety spoken in Natuashish. But there are significant differences that developed over the past 100 years due to contact with outsiders:
- The Naskapi live in Quebec, the Mushuau Innu live in Labrador
- The Naskapi live inland, the Mushuau Innu live on the coast
- The Naskapi write in Canadian Syllabics, the Mushuau Innu write in a Roman orthography
- The Naskapi are Anglicans, the Mushuau Innu are Catholics
- The Naskapi are in the Quebec school system, the Mushuau Innu are in the Newfoundland school system
In the spring of 2008 we tried to take a trip to Natuashish, but we were hindered by foggy weather on the coast.
Bill and two other Naskapi colleagues made it there in April of 2010 for a four-day visit.
Bill and Norma Jean will be leaving Friday, 9 September with his co-worker (and former Naskapi chief) Phil Einish, and mother tongue translators Silas Nabinicaboo and George Guanish.
For an interactive Google Map (zoom in and see the Natuashish village) try this link:
On Friday we are scheduled to fly south to Wabush, in western Labrador, and then east to Goose Bay in central Labrador. Sunday, 11 Sept we are scheduled to fly north to Natuashish on the coast, spending five days there before returning back the way we came starting Friday, 16 Sept.
The goals of this trip include presenting the possibilities of a community-based language development project that would include scripture translation into the Mushuau Innu language for Natuashish.
Thanks for your prayers for good contacts, travels, and outcomes.
Pray for us: “that our love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that we would be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ – to the glory and praise of God.” Phil. 1:9
Serving with you, Bill and Norma Jean