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Sealers - Handout

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  1. Sealers - Handout Sealing for personal use was an important activity for Aboriginals and immigrants

  2. In the late nineteenth century sealing became a big industry using bigger and bigger ships. It is now a much smaller industry which takes about 200 000 to 250 000 seals a year

  3. The seal fishery consisted of the landsman’s hunt and the offshore hunt

  4. In the landsman’s hunt seals were caught close to shore. Many seals could be caught if the ice pack came close to shore

  5. The offshore hunt took place on the ice field off northeastern Newfoundland and off Labrador(an area known as the front) and in the Gulf of St. Lawrence(an area known as the gulf)

  6. Seals provided food, clothing and oil. Oil made up 84% of the value of the hunt and was used for such things as machine lubricant, lamp oil, paint, explosives and margarine

  7. Read the Southern Cross disaster on page 58 • Read the growth of the Seal Fishery on page 59. In your notes draw a timeline showing the major developments in the seal fishery • Study the pictures and read the captions on the Photographic Essay on page 60

  8. Importance to the Family • The seal fishery took place in late winter when there was very little else for fishermen to do to make money • The fishermen who participated in the seal fishery were mostly from the northeast coast and sealing made up a significant portion of their yearly income • The seal fishery was the one activity of the year they could actually earn cash for their work • The landsmen used the pelts for clothing and the carcasses and flippers for food for themselves and for their dog teams

  9. Sealing skills Sealers needed to be able to find their way around in fog and snow

  10. The sealers needed to be agile enough to copy ice pans – jump from one ice pan to another without falling into the ocean

  11. Sealers had to know how to sculp seals. Sculping – removing the seal pelt with the thick layer of fat attached

  12. They had to be good marksmen when they were shooting larger seals that could not be clubbed See Risks of Sealing Handout

  13. Risks of sealing - Handout • Sealers in the nineteenth century had no weather forecasting which meant that ships could be lost in storms • Storms and shifting ice could strand crews on the ice away from their ship and keep the landsmen from reaching land • Ice pans were constantly moving and a change of wind could trap and crush small boats and ships as well • When ships became stuck the sealers often used dynamite to free them and sealers could easily be injured • Falling through the ice in freezing temperatures could lead to drowning or frostbitten limbs • The sealers lacked adequate clothing to deal with getting wet and the wind and cold temperatures encountered on the ice • Using knives and operating in filthy conditions could bring about cuts that could become severely infected which could lead to amputation or sometimes even death

  14. Trapping Until the 1800’s Aboriginal peoples were self-reliant and lived in a subsistence economy

  15. After European contact they changed to a commercial lifestyle of trapping furs to exchange for European goods and food

  16. Trapping for beaver and fox fur gave them goods and equipment that made their life easier but it also made them dependent on the Europeans

  17. Some years when fur was scarce they could go hungry or even starve

  18. The Hudson Bay Company(HBC) came to Labrador in the 1830’s AND established trading posts in a number of communities

  19. The Innu traded mostly with the HBC who often traded them alcohol which caused social problems

  20. The Moravians had established themselves further north and set up trading posts to trade with the Inuit

  21. They traded using a truck system, like the fish merchants, but did not trade alcohol

  22. They also provided health care and education, converted many of the Inuit to Christianity and taught them other life skills like music and gardening See effects of European Contact Handout

  23. Effects of European contact on Aboriginal groups - Handout • Most of them did not have time to follow their traditional lifestyle • Much of their traditional food was replaced with molasses, flour, and tea • The change in nutrition and exposure to European diseases caused many to become ill or die • Instead of living a nomadic lifestyle many of them settled down near missions or trading posts • They lost many of the old traditions and customs that they had practiced over the centuries

  24. Other Industries Certain other industries were centered in different parts of the colony

  25. Boat building was important because boats were needed for fishing, sealing, cargo and transportation

  26. Many people built their own small boats and schooners but shipyards were established to build schooners and bigger ships to transport fish and other goods to and from foreign markets

  27. A ship yard needed a good harbor and a source of wood

  28. As local forests dwindled boat builders would often have winter houses deep in the bays where wood was abundant

  29. Other jobs in Newfoundland included lumbering, mining and the railway

  30. Check table 3.3 on page 65 and note how the labor force involved in the fishing industry changed over the years Study chart 3.4 on page 65. Complete a chart showing where most of these workers would be located

  31. Trade and trading partners Salt fish was traded to the West Indies for sugar, rum and molasses and salt fish to Great Britain and Southern Europe for general goods and spirits

  32. Salt fish was also traded to southern plantations for tobacco and rice also things like lumber, ship building materials, casks, pitch and tar, and liquor from the New England States.

  33. Some Newfoundlanders would sometimes buy cows, sheep, goats or pigs in the spring in New England, keep them over the summer, and kill them in the fall for winter food

  34. Most of the seal oil went to England

  35. Whale oil went to England and Scotland. • See Women’s Roles - Handout

  36. Women’s roles - Handout • Women played a vital role in the economy of Newfoundland in the 19th century • Women ran the households while the men worked. They were also, along with the children, largely responsible for the curing of the cod that was the main income for the family • Women also usually volunteered to clean the church and school, thereby saving the church money • Some young women became teachers and nurses but usually resigned when they became married to become fulltime housekeepers

  37. Economic Activity and Culture Fishing, sealing and other economic activities are the subject of many artists in this province

  38. Visual Art Visual artists such as David Blackwood often do paintings of fishermen or sealers and the boats they used See Music Handout

  39. Music - Handout • Songs and music in Newfoundland and Labrador often reflect traditional economic activities. • Sea shanties like Ise the By and Lukey’s Boat deal with the fishery, • The Badger Drive deals with the woods industry • Tickle Cove Pond is about the winter chore of cutting firewood

  40. Written Literature Novels such as Death on the Ice and a Winter’s Tale deal with a sealing disaster and a ship wreck

  41. Oral Tradition - Handout • folksongs and ballads • folk drama • proverbs • Rhymes and riddles • Jokes • recitations and monologues • local legends • personal experience narratives • folktales.

  42. This oral tradition developed before radio, television and electricity and was passed down from generation to generation