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Press Release

In October 1918, the supply vessel SS Harmony set sail from St. John’s for northern Labrador bringing with it a deadly virus that changed the course of history for Labrador Inuit.

The virus, which has become known as the Spanish flu, spread quickly, killing entire families and leaving many children orphaned. No community was impacted as much as Okak, where 204 of the 263 residents perished.

“As we remember this dark time in our history, we also celebrate the resiliency of those who struggled to survive and the generations that followed who continue to be impacted by this tragedy,” says Nunatsiavut President Johannes Lampe.

Events are taking place today in Nain, Hopedale and Makkovik to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the arrival of the Spanish flu in Okak. The events are aimed at promoting an understanding of the history of Okak and to share the story of how those who lived there were affected by the Spanish flu. Information will also be shared on commemoration events that have taken place to date, and input will be sought on what other activities should take place over the course of the next year. Similar events will take place in Postville, Rigolet and Happy Valley-Goose Bay on Monday, November 19.

Thursday, November 15

Nain????????????????????? Jeremias Sillett Centre, 6-8 p.m.
Hopedale ?????????????????? Nunatsiavut Assembly Building (Court Room), 6-8 p.m.

Monday, November 19

Postville ?????????????????? Recreation Hall, 5-7 p.m.
Rigolet ?????????????????? Community Hall, 6-8 p.m.
Happy??????????????????? Valley-Goose Bay Labrador Friendship Centre, 6-8 p.m.

The events are being planned by the Okak 1918 Commemoration Committee, with the support of the Nunatsiavut Government’s Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism.

Media Contact:
Bert Pomeroy
Director of Communications
(709) 896-8582


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