The world's richest nickel mine at Voisey's Bay is just the latest important natural resource discovery in Labrador's history. Thousands of years ago, near the same Voisey's Bay, the aboriginal peoples traded an equally choice stone, Ramah chert. The Story of Labrador is the story of the Innu caribou hunters, of the Inuit people of the seal, of French fishermen and Basque whalers, of traders, of absentee governors, of settlers, and of the fight for life in a harshly beautiful land. It is the story of the coming of the industrial machine and the great air base at Goose Bay. It is the story of great Canadian construction projects: the Quebec North Shore and Labrador Railway, the rich iron ore operations at Labrador City and Wabush, and, in its time the largest hydro project in the world, Churchill Falls.
Bill Rompkey describes an emerging giant of the near north with all its racial, geographical, political, and social history. Using original research, including personal interviews, and his forty-year association with Labrador, Rompkey tells the story of Labrador's people, aboriginal and non-aboriginal alike. Above all, The Story of Labrador is the story of Newfoundland and Labrador, two uneasy stepsisters, each with its own strong identity, trying to share a common house.
"An ambitious undertaking that mixes history with personal observation. Few could match Senator Rompkey's knowledge of Labrador, and it is wonderful to have his account of the region. He makes trenchant observations on the important subject of Newfoundland-Labrador relations, and provides a rich and admirable commentary on the history of the First Nations communities of Labrador."
Peter Neary, Faculty of Social Science, The University of Western Ontario.
"Rompkey offers a concise and readable review of aspects of Labrador's pre-Confederation past. He provides a view of the post-Confederation issues of governance and economic development that is all the more interesting because it comes from an author with considerable personal experience in these areas."
John G. Reid, Department of History, Saint Mary's University.
Bill Rompkey was a teacher, principal, school superintendent, and civil servant in Newfoundland/Labrador before his election to the House of Commons in 1972 and his appointment to the Senate in 1995, where he still holds office.