The Unofficial Symbols of Labrador

The symbols of Labradorians' pride in their homeland.

The Labrador Flag

The Labrador Flag is a celebration of the unique identity and common heritage of the people of Labrador.

The top bar is white, and represents the snow. This is the one element which, more than any other, coloured the culture and dictated the lifestyle of Labrador's people. The centre bar is green, and it represents the land. The green and bountiful land is the connecting element that unites Labrador's three diverse cultures. The bottom line is blue, and it represents the waters of Labrador's rivers, lakes, and the sea. The waters have been Labrador's highways, and have nurtured Labrador's fish and wildlife.

The symbolic spruce twig was chosen because the spruce tree is common to all geographical regions of Labrador. It has provided shelter, transportation, fuel, and even food clothing as it is home to the wildlife which provided Labrador people with meat and skins. The spruce provided planks for boats, komatiks, and houses.

The three branches represent the three peoples of Labrador: the Inuit, the Innu, and the European Settlers. The twig grows from one stalk to represent the common origin of all humanity. It is in two sections, or two years' growth. The outer growth is longer than the inner growth, because in good growing years the twig grows longer than in the poorer ones. The inner and shorter twig represents the past, while the larger outer twig represents a brighter future.

The Labrador Flag © 1974, the Labrador Heritage Society, North West River, LB, A0P 1M0.
All rights reserved


The Labrador Coat of Arms

ARMS
The primary colours of the arms are those of the Labrador flag: green for the forests, white for the ice and snow, and blue for the waters. The design also evokes the opening line of the Ode to Labrador: "Dear land of mountains, woods and snow."

The three white mountain peaks represent the founding peoples of Labrador: the Innu, the Inuit, and the Settlers.

The four spruce trees symbolize the four points of the compass and the great extent and diversity of the territory, its landscapes, and its communities and ways of life.

The wavy bars symbolize the lakes and rivers, the bays and the sea. The alternation of white and blue represents the changing of the seasons, and by extension, the history of thousands of years of life in Labrador.

The gold star is the Pole Star, symbolic of our northern environment and culture. As a symbol of navigation, it points the way to a bright future. Its points are our grandchildren, for whom we hold the land, its resources, and its heritage in trust.

SUPPORTERS
Two caribou, an animal central to the life and livelihood of all Labrador people.

COMPARTMENT
A field of Labrador tea and caribou moss.

CRESTA snowy owl (uhu, ukpik) on a gold and red wreath.

SCROLL
Red and gold.

MOTTO
Munus splendidum mox explebitur; "The splendid task will soon be fulfilled." Adapted and translated from the first stanza of the Ode to Labrador.


The Ode to Labrador

The Ode to Labrador was written ca. 1927 by Dr. Harry L. Paddon, a doctor with the International Grenfell Association at North West River, Indian Harbour, and along the Labrador coast. Born in England, he came to Labrador in 1912, and worked tirelessly for his adopted homeland until his death in 1939. While a number of tunes have been written to accompany the Ode, it is traditionally set to O Tannebaum, and the first and third verses are often sung at public events.

1.

Dear land of mountains, woods and snow;
Labrador, our Labrador.
God's noble gift to us below,
Labrador, our Labrador.
Thy proud resources waiting still,
Their splendid task will soon fulfill,
Obedient to the Maker's will,
Labrador, our Labrador.

2.
Thy stately forests soon shall ring,
Labrador, our Labrador,
Responsive to the woodsman's swing,
Labrador, our Labrador.
And mighty floods that long remained,
Their raging fury unrestrained,
Shall serve the purpose God ordained,
Labrador, our Labrador.

3.
We love to climb thy mountains steep,
Labrador, our Labrador,
And paddle on thy waters deep,
Labrador, our Labrador.
Our snowshoes scar thy trackless plains,
We seek no city streets nor lanes,
We are thy sons while life remains,
Labrador, our Labrador. 1