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History & Heritage
Archeological remains of the first moravian landing in Labrador near Makkovik (larger version)
Brief History
The Inuit and their ancestors have occupied the extended region for thousands of years. The modern community of Makkovik dates back to 1860 when Torsten Kverna Andersen, a Norwegian immigrant, established a small trading post with his wife Mary Ann Thomas. They had been living further up Makkovik Bay; at the time, Makkovik Harbour was called Flounder's Bight. Andersen had come to Labrador in the 1850's to work for the Hudson Bay Company.

During the late 1800's the settler and Inuit population of the area increased, and in 1896, the Moravians chose Makkovik as the site of their most southerly mission station. They built a church and mission house and, in 1915, a boarding school. The church and mission house were unfortunately destroyed by fire in 1948.

The first permanent settlers came to the area as craftsmen or sailors, and settled as hunters, trappers and fishermen. The rich fishing grounds off Makkovik attracted schooners from Newfoundland and contributed to the community's early growth as a supply and service centre.

In the 1950's, Inuit people from Nutak and Hebron were re-settled to Makkovik (over 150 in all). Some of them later moved back up north, to Nain and Hopedale.

A DEW Line radar station was constructed at Cape Makkovik in the early 1950's, which provided some local employment for a few years. To view some pictures of the radar station and surrounding area click on the link below.


Current residents of Makkovik are of Inuit and Settler origin; 90 percent are listed as aboriginal in the 2001 Census.
James R. Andersen Sr. (Photo Courtesy: ) (larger version)
Cultural Heritage
Makkovik is rich in natural and cultural heritage. The extended region (Makkovik is midway between Hopedale and Cape Harrison) is immeasurably rich in natural heritage resources, including many offshore islands, large, deep bays and several major rivers, some of which traverse the Labrador wilderness to their headlands near the Quebec border.

The town has a rich combination of Inuit and Settlers traditions; the Inuit people, who with their ancestors have occupied the region for thousands of years, have a cultural heritage intertwined with the land and sea.

Other aboriginal cultural resources in the Makkovik region include archaeological sites of national significance (yet to be designated).

Immediately east of Makkovik Harbour, Ford's Bight (Nisbet Harbour) is the site of the first Moravian landing in Labrador. An archaeological dig was undertaken in 2001 at the site of the house built in the summer of 1752 by the team headed by John Christian Erhardt. This therefore is an important part of the Moravian Story in Labrador. The Nisbet Harbour story can be told with panels in the White Elephant Museum, and may be accessed by water. (Ask at the Town Office for details on getting a boat ride and guided tour of the site.) The White Elephant Museum Inc. is recognized as a registered heritage structure under the Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador and information on the building can be obtained by clicking on the following website:


There is also an excerpt on the Nisbet Harbour site written by Dr. Hans Rollmann of Memorial University's Religious Studies Department and can be obtained by clicking on the following website:


Dr. Rollmann is a renowned expert on Moravian history.

The Town has a very good Craft Centre; local crafters concentrate mainly on items of clothing - mitts, coats, slippers, etc.

Makkovik is proud to have two recording artists, Gerald Mitchell and Gary Mitchell. Find out more about them .......(provide link to Museum - historic music notes)
The White Elephant Museum Committee will be marking Heritage Day later this spring when schedules are not so full. We will post it in Makkovik News (facebook). At that time, we invite you to a book launch for "Music Notables in Makkovik", as well as other fun things to see and do. (larger version)
Makkovik Green Team Blog
The Makkovik Green Team first started in 2008 through a partnership between the Conservation Corps of Newfoundland Labrador, Makkovik Inuit Community Government, and the Makkovimiut Trust. The project gives youth ages 16-30 a chance to gain some quality work experience, training, and career development in environmental and cultural heritage conservation.

Moravian Church Blog
Keeping people informed on events and activities happening around the province with the Moravian Church.

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