Doll maker to doctors: 150 named Labradorians of Distinction

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Doll maker to doctors: 150 named Labradorians of Distinction

Some movers and shakers in Labrador are being singled out as Labradorians of Distinction awards are handed out across the region.

Dozens of Labradorians, past and present, received the awards at a ceremony in Happy Valley Goose Bay Monday night. 

"From those that harpooned food from the ice to those that opened the first modern facilities of our communities," Labrador MP Yvonne Jones told the crowd gathered at the Lawrence O'Brien Arts Centre.

"We have all come together to create a masterful mosaic of people who have [lived] and continue to live in harmony together," 

Jones created the award as part of the Canada 150 anniversary celebrations to recognize 150 Labradorians who have contributed to the region "culturally, socially, environmentally or economically."

"She's doing a bigger thing than maybe she thought would happen," said Jean Crane, 88, a Sheshatshiu resident who was instrumental in setting up Libra house, an emergency shelter in Happy Valley-Goose Bay. 

"Labradorians are coming together again. Sometimes we've been divided but now we're back together, one people. We are all family. We all need to recognize each other."

The awards were given to 90 living Labradorians and 60 deceased.

"I think it's a marvelous thing that we're recognizing our own and they don't come from any one particular walk of life," said Dave Paddon.

Both his father Anthony Paddon and his grandfather Harry Paddon were recognized for their contributions as doctors.

Harry Paddon was also recognized for penning the Ode to Labrador, which has endured as an anthem in Labrador since the 1920s and opened the show last night along with the Canadian national anthem. 

"It's always an absolute thrill and even more so in this setting. I think he'd be amazed that it's still prominent," Paddon said. 

All walks of life

The award aims to reward Labradorians from all walks of life; professionals, business people and artists were all recognized.

"It's really important to me. I'm proud because people really love it because they wants my dolls," Sheshatshiu's Angela Andrew said. She was recognized for continuing the art of making traditional Innu tea dolls.

"A bit scary, I'm sure I'm related to half the people in the room at some level," Harriet Burdett-Moulten said jokingly of receiving the award.

Burdett-Moulten, originally from Cartwright, is an architect who helped to plan the community of Natuashish and is now working on other projects in Canada's North.

"I think [the awards are] extremely valuable. This should be shown to the rest of Canada. I think Labrador is still a forgotten part of Canada."