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Carol Brice-Bennett remembered for groundbreaking work

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Woman who contributed much to Labrador passed away Aug. 26




This past week, Labradorians at home and away mourned the loss of Carol Brice-Bennett who died in Montreal on Aug. 26.

Brice-Bennett was remembered for her presence in the community and anthropological work in Labrador, and has received tributes from many, including the Nunatsiavut government.

Born in Montreal in 1949, Brice-Bennett obtained a Bachelor of Arts at McGill University in Anthropology, indicating a lifelong interest in the field.

After making her way to Labrador, Brice-Bennett eventually became director at the Labrador Institute of Memorial University in Happy Valley-Goose Bay for many years.

Morgon Mills, a long-term employee of the Labrador Institute, was responsible for providing the information to his colleagues regarding the passing of Brice-Bennett. “Carol oversaw our move from Base to the North Star Building in Happy Valley, and through her own anthropological work in northern Labrador, she led our early transition towards a focus on research, while at the time maintaining community development as a primary imperative,” Mills said.

As a researcher, Brice-Bennett’s best known work was ​“Our Footprints are Everywhere: Inuit land use and occupancy in Labrador” ​published in 1977. She authored four additional books, and her studies helped the formation of what is now the Nunatsiavut government.

The Nunatsiavut government issued a press release on Aug. 29 offering condolences to the family of Brice-Bennett.

“Carol was a well-respected anthropologist and researcher who devoted much of her life documenting Labrador Inuit history,” said Nunatsiavut President Johannes Lampe in the release. “On behalf of the Nunatsiavut Government and Beneficiaries of the Labrador Inuit Land Claims Agreement, I extend my condolences to Carol’s family and friends.”

After her retirement, Brice-Bennett donated her papers to the Labrador Institute, where they remain along with her published work and reports. Mills said some of the artifacts outside the Labrador Institute’s current office are ones first collected by Brice-Bennett in her lengthy career.

While she had left Labrador after her retirement, Brice-Bennett is remembered by many. Friends have written of her welcoming nature, and her house as a “home away from home” for visitors to Happy Valley-Goose Bay, along with her work in the community. Those who have made public posts include former students who worked with her in Battle Harbour oral traditions, and friends of hers from her time in Nain.

Brice-Bennett has been laid to rest and a funeral service was held Sept. 3. Her family has requested that donations be made on her behalf to the Canadian Cancer Society.

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