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Community project

Rich history: Connecting the past and the present in Rigolet

Part of a special feature chronicling the transformation of the academy through the inclusion of Indigenous knowledge, voices, critiques, scholars, students and materials at Memorial.

By Rebecca Cohoe

An award-winning partnership between Memorial’s Department of Archaeology and the town of Rigolet is helping make sure that the community’s rich history lives on.

The Rigolet area, located on the North Coast of Labrador, has been home to a wide range of cultures for 6,000 years, including the Inuit who reside there today.

The community of Rigolet is currently home to about 300 people, many of whom have participated, in one way or another, in the Double Mer Point archaeological dig, the site of three 18th-century Inuit homes currently under excavation.

A crow's eye view of Double Mer Point by a drone.
A crow’s eye view of Double Mer Point via drone.
Photo: Lisa Rankin

While the artifacts that have been found onsite are of significant historic significance, another distinguishing feature of the dig is the collaborative manner in which it has been carried out.

From the beginning, the archaeological team, led by archaeology professor Dr. Lisa Rankin, has worked hand-in-hand with the residents of Rigolet, ensuring a mutually beneficial, mutually respectful relationship from day one.

Dr. Lisa Rankin is the new principal investigator with the Tradition and Transition Among the Labrador Inuit project.
Dr. Lisa Rankin
Photo: Richard Blenkinsopp

From sharing knowledge, to digging at the site, to helping preserve and archive items, community members are guiding and participating in all aspects of the research.

Eventually, the site will be developed into a tourism destination to further benefit the community members of Rigolet.

President’s Award winner

To learn more about the collaboration, please take a look at the video below, produced in partnership between Memorial’s Office of Public Engagement and Centre for Innovation in Teaching and Learning.

Many of the photos used in the video were provided by the partnership, with drone footage provided by Bird’s Eye Ltd., an Inuit-owned, Labrador-based drone/UAV operator.

The Double Mer Point collaboration is a winner of Memorial’s highest award for public engagement, the President’s Award for Public Engagement Partnerships. For more information about the award, please visit online.

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