Carol Brice-Ben­nett re­mem­bered for ground­break­ing work

Woman who con­trib­uted much to Labrador passed away Aug. 26

The Labradorian - - Front Page - BY TOM NILES

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, BriceBen­nett 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, BriceBen­nett 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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