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Labrador Inuit Featured in the German Embassy’s new Exhibit in Ottawa

Good day,

I am so excited and proud to tell you about the “Germany and Canada: Partners from Immigration to Innovation” exhibit that just opened last night in Ottawa. The exhibit is being presented by the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany, and its many partners, to celebrate Canada’s 150th anniversary. It is located in the International Pavilion, a brand new building (7 Clarence Street, on the corner of Sussex Street) which was also inaugurated last night.

The main floor is dedicated to introducing bilateral research projects and partnerships. For example, that’s where you’ll be able to use your mind to turn a wind turbine. Check out the Mind2Motion Challenge and you  might even win a Siemens drone!

The second floor is aimed at highlighting a few of the stories of how the peoples of Canada and Germany have interacted and shared experiences over the centuries. That’s where you’ll discover a few notable German personalities in Canada, the Canadian Forces Base in Lahr from 1967 to 1994, and how the city of Kitchener got its name.

But, for those of us with an interest in the North and the Inuit culture, the section you cannot miss is the one entitled “Moravians in Labrador: A dialogue between German and Inuit cultures.” I am so thrilled that the German Embassy  considered this subject “a must” to be included in the exhibit. Two of the highlights are the Moravian music and Abraham Ulrikab’s story.

Here are a few photos to give you a better idea.

Introduction panel to “Moravians in Labrador: A Dialogue Between German and Inuit Cultures”.


View of the entrance of the section “Moravians in Labrador”.


The panel on the Moravian Brass Band with pictures of the brass band playing on the roof of the church in Nain.


The panel “The Inuit Voice in Moravian Music” where you can watch “Till We Meet Again: Moravian Music in Labrador” as well as a few other video clips.


In the next corner, is the panel on the story of the eight Inuit who were taken to Europe in 1880 to be exhibited in zoos.


People reading excerpts from Abraham Ulrikab’s diary provided in a flip book.


Here I am surrounded by Robert Evans, from Origin Studios, the Ottawa-based company who designed the exhibit, and master photographer Hans-Ludwig Blohm who introduced me to Abraham’s story back in 2009.


Tom Gordon and his wife Mary O’Keeffe looking at the acknowledgement panel.

Here is an article published on the Embassy’s So German! Si Allemand! blog about Abraham’s story.

The “Moravians in Labrador” section of the exhibit was made possible through the contribution of many individuals. The names I recognized on the acknowledgment panel include: Jamie Brake (Nunatsiavut Government archeologist), Tom Gordon (Memorial University), Jack Ives (who contributed a 1956 photo of Hebron), Hartmut Lutz (German-English translator of Abraham’s Diary and author of the book “The Diary of Abraham Ulrikab: Text and Context”),  Nigel Markham (film director of “Till We Meet Again”), Ossie Michelin (contributed photos and video clips of the Nain Brass Band), France Rivet (yours truly), Jacqueline Thun (German-French translator of Abraham’s Diary), and all the various archives who agreed to the use of their images.

I would like to express my thanks to:

  • Martin Schurig, First secretary – Communication and Culture, who had the idea of including Abraham’s story in the exhibit and brought his colleague Peter Finger to the world premiere of “Trapped in a Human Zoo” so that Peter would get introduced to the story;
  • Peter Finger, the person in charge of the exhibit, who requested that we have a chat and decided to give consideration to my suggestion to put Abraham’s story within the context of the Moravian presence in Labrador. Shortly after, he flew to St. John’s to meet with Tom Gordon and came back convinced that this was the right path.
  •  Ambassador Werner Wnendt who gave his blessing.
  • The staff of the Communication and Culture sector, Claudia Ringwald, Frank Hartmann and Kerstin Kormendy, for all their support and help.

Please spread the word to people who might be in Ottawa between now and July 26th. The exhibit is open 7 days a week. Mondays to Fridays: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. On Sundays: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

France Rivet



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