Called the Northlanders by the Moravian missionaries who sought to colonize them, Avanimiut were Inuit who maintained traditional lifeways, autonomy, and spiritual beliefs in northernmost Labrador. Despite the attempts of the Moravian Mission, the Hudson’s Bay Company, and the Anglican Church to bring them into their Christian and commercial trading worlds, the Avanimiut often held on to their independence. Avanimiut: A History of Inuit Independence in Northern Labrador is the story of a people often displaced by relocation who survived and thrived despite the hardships they faced.
The first version of Avanimiut, a 1996 report titled “Northlanders,” was commissioned by the Labrador Inuit Association and written by Carol Brice-Bennett. Lena Onalik and Andrea Procter have modified the original manuscript to incorporate historical Inuit writing and interviews, including the Inuit voices that had previously been almost entirely omitted. Avanimiut presents these voices alongside the colonial accounts of Inuit families who continued to live in their ancestral territories of Labrador, providing a glimpse into their lives, families, and relationships.
From the earliest interactions between Inuit and Europeans in Labrador to the final eviction of Inuit from their northern homeland, this book illustrates the dignified history of Avanimiut families and honours the strength, resilience, and survival of their ancestors in the north.