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Contents

Pages 1 to 4
Rediscovery of Hubbard's Rock

Pages 5 to 12
Picture Galley (place cursor on pictures to read captions)

Pages 13 to 18
Comments by Rudy Mauro on NL Studies papers, The Naming Compulsion and The Language of Faith and American Exceptionalism

         Parsons dismisses the installation at Hubbard's place of death by Mauro and Wallace's son of a replica of the tablet lost in the rapids with its powerful inscription,  "intrepid explorer and practical Christian", as a "physical representation of the layering of history over geographic space" (whatever that means). He makes more sense when he goes on to say that Mauro "attempted to permanently stamp the place with significance".  Not a word, of course, about the unique story behind the tablet, and the profound satisfaction the discovery of this genuine relic of early Labrador exploration, with its priceless epitaph from another era, nearly lost to antiquity, has brought to increasing numbers of visiting scholars, history buffs, wilderness paddlers, and Hubbard pilgrims.
 
          The author seems to yearn for the day when all traces of white history will be banished from the map of Labrador, one of the last expanses of Canadian territory still bearing the despised symbols of colonial imperialism. His dream may not be that long in coming.
 
          Aboriginal activists and local elected officials in Canada's High Arctic, encouraged over the past 30 years by misguided federal bureaucrats in a succession of national governments pre-occupied with more pressing matters to the south, have engaged in the wholesale re-labelling of historic landmarks, a process some believe is more of a race-based assertion of political power, and a demand for more, than a movement to restore aboriginal dignity.
 
          Canadians hoping that Ottawa might do something to curb the movement to change place names back to the original aboriginal ones, have not been encouraged by the actions of politicians such as Jean Chretien, Prime Minister of Canada from 1993 to 2003, and a former federal Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development. In 2000, he proposed the renaming of Mount Logan, in the Yukon, Canada's highest peak, for his friend and former Prime Minister, Pierre Trudeau.The outcry from the media and the public was so great that the proposal was dropped. Though no indigenous renaming was involved, the Prime Minister's apparent casual attitude towards iconic place names on the Far North landscape was unsettling to many Canadians, including those who bitterly recalled the1965 renaming, without public consultation, by Premier Joseph Smallwood of Newfoundland, of Labrador's largest river, the Hamilton, for his hero of the moment, Winston Churchill.
 
          The rewriting of Canadian history has so far been largely confined to Arctic and subarctic regions, where sparse populations offer little resistance to the changing of the names of settlements and geographical features native inhabitants and their forebears have lived happily with for generations. The renaming compulsion, however, continues to spread southward, including to the U.S., as evidenced by the rejected 2010 proposal of the chief of the Squamish First Nations of British Columbia, to change the name of Vancouver's Stanley Park, to Xwayxway. Farther south, in Washington State, the latest proposal to rename Mount Rainier, this time from the Puyallup Tribe, who favour Ti' swaq, rang so many alarm bells that the state legislature passed a bill to re-establish the State Board on Geographical Names. The government's aim, apparently, is to squelch, once and for all, the revisionist dream of attaching an indigenous name to the famous mountain.
 
          In the non-autonomous region of northern Quebec known as Nunavik, the provincial government petitioned Canada Post, in 1981, to recognize name changes for seven communities on or near the Arctic coast. The historic Hudson's Bay Company post of George River disappeared behind a name no one can pronounce, Kaniqsualijjuaq. To the west, equally historic Fort Chimo became known as Kuujjuaq. Even more depressing, in the eastern Arctic, the great land known for more than a century to every Canadian school pupil as the Northwest Territories, was carved up, and the largest portion renamed Nunavut. The Baffin Island settlement of Frobisher Bay, stopping place of early explorers and Second World War Atlantic ferry pilots, became Iqaluit, a name Canadian television news anchors continue to stumble over after 30 years. The list goes on, but an examination of the renaming of Coppermine, in the western Arctic, provides an interesting case study of the hidden side of the renaming phenomenon.

(Go to page 16)

All images and content are Rudy Mauro 2005.  No form of reproduction, including copying or saving on digital images file, or the alteration or manipulation of said images, is authorized without the written permission of Rudy Mauro.
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