Saturday, June 28, 2008

Lost Lands Forgotten Stories - Book Review

Lost Lands Forgotten Stories
By Alexandra Pratt
Harper Collins Canada 2002

In 1902 Leonidas Hubbard attempted a trek across Labrador going north from North West River (at the head of Lake Melville - where Happy Valley & Goose Bay SAC are currently located) all the way to Ungava Bay in Quebec. Leonidas lost his life because he and his team took the wrong river route. In 1905, Leonidas's widow, Mina Hubbard, decided to finish the trek her husband had planned. She took the correct river route and made it all the way to Ungava Bay.

In 1993. the National Geographic Magazine published an article about the Hubbards trips.

In 2000 Alexandra Pratt read this article and vowed to follow Mina's route for herself. She spent a year making arrangements, gathering sponsors and organizing the finance. Alex started the trip in July 2001.

However there were a considerable number of changes in Labrador between 1905 and 2001. The biggest change were the large numbers of dams built on the rivers to create hydro-electricity. This caused the rivers to shrink and now they hold only a fraction of their original volumes.

Another major change was the governments role in "forcing" the native Innu people of Labrador, away from the land and into the settlements where they must live in houses and follow the white man's laws. The Innu have been living off the land for thousands of years. They have also NEVER signed any treaty donating (or giving) their land to the Canadian government.

Alex Pratt started out on her voyage but she and her Innu guide, forgot to factor in the effect of the dams on the rivers. While they managed to make it a fair way along the route, she was unable to complete it, and they had to be pulled out.

This book is the story of Leonidas's trip from which he never returned, and also Mina's trip where she triumphed. It is also the story of Alexandra Pratt and her trip. It is also the story of the Innu native people today, and how the Canadian government has forced an unwanted and drastic change in their way of life.

I really enjoyed this book. Its not big (258 pages), and you learn a lot about the Native people and the history of Labrador - a wild and untamed provice in eastern Canada. I know I would love to visit Labrador some day.

More information about Mina Hubbard.
Buy this book at Amazon

This is my last book for the Canadian Book challenge. I am done. phew!!

The sad thing is that when I started this challenge, I originally mentioned 3 Canadian books I wanted to read. I have not read any of them. Not sure if I want to do the new Canadian challenge. but I will try and read them this year anyway.

1 comment:

John Mutford said...

I'm glad you finished. And I hope you consider the 2nd edition of the challenge-- it shouldn't be as hectic!

There's a couple other great books about Leonidas (Lure of the Labrador Wild-- which I reviewed over on my blog) and Mina (The Woman Who Mapped Labrador), that you or your readers might find interesting as well.