Pictured is Rev. Peter Mills of Saint John’s Anglican Church in Ida, holding up his wife’s mink coat. It is being donated to an Inuit artisan named Matilda Karpik. Matilda lives in Nain which is a fly-in community (in the winter) at the very north end of the settled part of Labrador. Matilda uses fur and hides to create moccasins, mittens and mukluks. This area is now called Nunatsiavut and is administered by the local Inuit population.
Several more coats are being brought to Nain by local volunteers who while visiting the area also tried to restore their local community garden. The challenge to growing a successful garden in the far north is, of course, overcoming the short growing season, extreme cold winters and poor soil conditions. Short daylight hours also pose a challenge for indoor plants. Despite these obstacles, a cadre of volunteers are optimistic that some measure of success can be achieved to help the community combat the high price of food imported from the south.
Moravian Missionaries arrived in Nain back in 1771. The missionaries were successful gardeners and it was the Missionaries who inspired volunteers to attempt to restore the local gardens.
Anyone who is interested in acquiring crafts made by Matilda is invited to contact the writer who will pass the request to Matilda. Gardeners who possess an Armstrong Cultivator are welcome to join the 2020 planting season in Nain.
by Andy Harjula