ICH - Knowledge and Practices Concerning Nature and the Universe
Intangible Cultural Heritage Inventory - Knowledge and Practices Concerning Nature and the Universe
Knowledge and practices concerning nature and the universe include knowledge, know- how, skills, practices and representations developed by communities by interacting with the natural environment. It includes areas such as traditional ecological wisdom, indigenous knowledge, knowledge about local fauna and flora, traditional healing systems, beliefs, and superstitions. Some common examples in relation to Newfoundland and Labrador include berry picking, trapping, sealing, fishing berths, food presentation, weather lore, nautical lore, logging, and animal husbandry.
Fisheries, Root Cellar Traditions
(formerly the Mark Ferguson Collection)
The daily work of the fishery had a profound impact on the culture and history of Newfoundland and Labrador. The particular method of curing fish in Newfoundland (and Atlantic Canada)--soaking in brine and sun- drying on stretches of coastline--led to the development of specific architectural forms, language, and many different aspects of occupational folklore. This collection showcases the history, hard work, and lifestyle of many Newfoundland fishing families.
Mark Ferguson Collection Collection
A large section of this collection was compiled by then Memorial University Department of Folklore graduate student Mark Ferguson. The Mark Ferguson Collection consists of several audio interviews with people who worked in the Newfoundland fishery. Recorded in the early 1990s, these interviews focus mainly on the subject of salt fish. Salting is a style of fish processing with a history as long as the fishery itself. Long before the days of refrigeration, fishers and their families would work long hours salting their catches for the purposes of preservation. It was a long, skillful process that required much dedication and hard work.
Due to the abundance of harvestable trees in Newfoundland and Labrador, forestry developed as a viable industry and traditions were created and transmitted as a result. Men worked in sawmills, lumber camps or went into the woods around their communities, cutting with a handful of fellow loggers. Many men worked a combination of all of these jobs. Cutting and collecting lumber was arduous work. In the lumber camps men worked from sunrise to sunset every day of the week, except Sundays, several kilometers deep in the woods, in the middle of winter. Living quarters consisted of log cabins with several bunks and a wood stove. Despite the toilsome nature of the logging industry in Newfoundland, there was fun to be had. Many folk songs, particularly satirical songs, practical jokes and other forms of folklore were created in the lumberwoods, often as a distraction from the unforgiving nature of lumbering.
Prior to mechanization of the logging industry in the second half of the 20th century the work was backbreaking. As forestry developed in Newfoundland and Labrador after 1900, pulp and paper production began to dominate the industry. The first pulpwood manufactured in Newfoundland was at Black River, Placentia Bay in 1897. The second pulp and paper operation to open in Newfoundland was the Anglo Newfoundland Development (A.N.D) Company in Grand Falls-Windsor in 1909. In 1925 another large mill was established in Corner Brook by the Reid Newfoundland Company, under the name Newfoundland Power and Paper Company. This mill was quickly sold to the International Power and Paper Company and at one time was the largest mill in the world. The Corner Brook mill was taken over by Bowater-Lloyd in 1938 and as of 2012 is operating today under the ownership of Kruger International.
As skyscrapers climbed to greater heights in the late nineteenth century so did the Newfoundlanders who helped build them. Balancing along beams sometimes no more than a foot wide, they worked high above the clouds. Groups of Newfoundland iron workers felt the rush of high steel as they raised such projects as The Sears Tower and The World Trade Center. Many carried on the iron work tradition of their fathers and brothers, travelling to California, Toronto, New York and Philadelphia to help build some of the largest skyscrapers in North America.
Root Cellar Traditions
Root cellars have played an important role in the folklife of Newfoundland and Labrador for generations. These underground or partially underground structures are used to protect food such as vegetables, berries and preservatives from frost in the winter and heat in the summer. They were constructed by digging a hole in the earth, reinforcing with wood, rock, and mortar, and then covering with sod leaving small door for access.
Once commonplace throughout Newfoundland, root cellars provide consistent humidity and temperature levels essential for food security prior to the introduction of electricity and refrigeration. Additionally, root cellars have also been the site children's games and stories, fairy legends, and other local lore. They have come to be recognized as a prominent symbol of Newfoundland`s agricultural heritage and represent current potential for food security and self-sufficiency movements within our province.
In the mid 1980s Marilyn Marsh interviewed a group of Newfoundland nurses who graduated between 1918 and 1949 and worked in a variety of nursing settings and locations in Newfoundland and Labrador (NL) and in several cases internationally. The interviews were transcribed by Jeanette Walsh and Marilyn Beaton and sixteen of them published in the book 'A life of caring: 16 Newfoundland nurses tell their stories' in 2008. For a variety of reasons not all interviews were suitable for publication. The nurses' stories capture what life was like for women and nurses during that era. Women in the 1920s and 30s had few career options. Most chose to stay in their community, marry and have families. For those wishing to pursue a career, to travel or were adventuresome, nursing provided the greatest opportunities but for many also their greatest challenges. These tapes reveal their lived experiences and provide insight into who they were as women and nurses.
Intangible Cultural Heritage Inventory