‘Thanks To Those Missionaries’

“In the 1770s, Moravian missionaries sailed into Inuit communities on the coast of Labrador with freshly-written musical scores by Handel, Bach and other composers.
At the time, they couldn’t have known what an enduring role that music would play in the lives of generations of Inuit…

“Musicologists now believe hymns by Handel, Bach and others made their North American debuts in the small wooden churches of Makkovik, Okak, Nain and Hopedale…”

–‘Thumbprints in Seal Oil — the full documentary’,
Angela Antle, CBC, March 28, 2018

https://newsinteractives.cbc.ca/longform/thumbprints-in-seal-oil

AUDIO Documentary:
http://www.cbc.ca/listen/shows/atlantic-voice/episode/15532542

The Moravians brought European music to the Inuit (PHOTO: Them Days)

“The Moravians were German and Czech Protestant devotees that came to Labrador in the mid-18th century as part of their church’s missionizing efforts throughout the world. The Moravian presence in Labrador represents one of the best and most dinstinctive European – Inuit contact stories on the Labrador coast…

“While it took some time for the Moravian Christian faith to take hold with the Inuit, eventually a middle ground was found, mixing Inuit traditions with the Moravian teachings. The Moravians contributed to many significant changes to Inuit life, including the abandonment of a nomadic lifestyle, formal education, the development of a written form of Inuktitut, as well as new hunting and fishing technologies.

“The Moravians also brought European music to Hopedale, teaching Inuit to play Haydn and Bach on brass and string instruments (a tradition that continues today). The translation of religious and musical texts into Inuktitut was a priority for the Moravian missionaries…

“Though many of the Moravian mission houses today are abandoned or closed, a large portion of the population of Nunatsiavut continues to practice the Moravian faith. Moravian churches in the communities of Nain, Hopedale, and Makkovik still serve those communities, and are now run by local Inuit church leaders. Moravian traditions and customs live on, with a distinct Labrador Inuit twist. The physical artifacts and records left by the missionaries represent an immense resource to the residents of Nunatsiavut, opening rich cultural and historical windows to the past.”

–‘Through Moravian Eyes’,

http://www.hopedalemission.ca/home/moravians.htm
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
“The Moravian Church is the oldest Protestant denomination, serving Christ since 1457. The church originated as the ‘Unitas Fratrum’ (Unity of the Brethren) after the Czech priest John Hus was burned at the stake for his revolt against the Catholic Church. It was driven underground in the early 1600s and renewed in the 1720s in Germany by refugees from Moravia and Bohemia. From there, missionaries went out to serve in diverse places and among many races.”

http://ephraimmoravian.org/about-us/who-are-the-moravians/
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