Letters to the editor -
One of the first words a child learns is Mom and Dad. People pride themselves on where they come from, be it Grand Falls-Windsor, Badger, Twillingate or Botwood. Even the children from Woodland Primary's Grade 2 class were trying to right the wrongs of a people's history. They believe that the name Desmasduit should grace the bricks of the Provincial Museum in Grand Falls - Windsor.
Back in 2007 they were lobbying Government officials to change the name of the museum from Mary March that was given to her by the Europeans, to her ancestral Beothuk name. They also nominated Nonosabasut Rock, located on the Exploits River as one of the seven wonders of Canada. So when you get down to dotting the I's and crossing the T's there is allot in a name, weather it is a person's name or the name of a town. Another quest that these kids embarked upon was to get the skulls of Desmasduit and her husband Nonosabasut returned to the province from Scotland where they have been since 1827. Unlike the skulls of Desmasduit and Nonosabasut, Shanawdithit's skull subsequently was destroyed by a bomb during World War II. Her skull had certain peculiarities and was supposed to be examined by the Royal College of Surgeons in London.
So what do Shanawdithit, otherwise known as Nancy April, have to do with the story of Desmasduit and Nonosabasut? Like I said, "What's in a name"? There is also a story to be told of Shanawdithit, who died on June 6, 1829. Shanawdithit was the last surviving member of the Beothuk people of Newfoundland and Labrador. July 1, 2007 marked a noteworthy anniversary in the Town of Grand Falls -Windsor that few people realize existed. The anniversary in question is that of Nancy April known as Shanawdithit. It was 40 years ago on July 1, 1967 Dominion Day; a monument was erected in commemoration of the Centennial of Confederation on what is known as Centennial Field to most people. The official inscription on the monument reads as follows.
"Shanadithit Centennial Park- Centennial of Confederation
Erected by the Town of Grand Falls in permanent commemoration of the Centennial of Confederation of Canada in 1967.
Construction was made possible through the co-operation of the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador and the Government of Canada."
A new sign has been erected and it still reflects the same name Centennial Field Complex. I strongly believe that it is time the new council put the wheels in motion and started using the proper and official name of Shanadithit Centennial Park. Most people to this day still do not know the correct name of this area.
It is time to right the past so we don't lose sight and touch of our history. If we don't start preserving our past what kind of legacy will we leave for future generations.
Over the last number of weeks I have questioned many people as to what is the proper name of Centennial Field Complex. Not one of the people that was question knew that the rightful name was Shanadithit Centennial Park. This year marks the 40th anniversary of this honor. I think that it is only fitting that the Town live up to this honor and display the proper name on signage and other materials as well as use the proper name in the media. There should also be an information display setup similar to the ones located at the entrance of Corduroy Pond explaining who Shanadithit was for tourist and children. It is time to right the past so we don't lose sight and touch of our history. If we don't start preserving our past what kind of legacy will we leave for future generations.