Landscape of Culture

Nunatsiavut Field Guide to the Birds of Labrador


Michelle Saunders
Ian Jones



The Nunatsiavut Field Guide to the Birds of Labrador is a multi-year project aimed at working with Nunatsiavummiut to produce a photographic, informative field guide with traditional and scientific information. The guide will contain Inuttitut and common names of birds, identification tips, as well as folklore and cultural significance of local birds in a blend of traditional and western, scientific knowledge. A primary goal for this project is to have as many as possible if not all of the pictures of birds in the guide to be taken in Nunatsiavut and by Nunatsiavummiut. Michelle Saunders, Nunatsiavut beneficiary from Happy Valley-Goose Bay, is the lead researcher, with Dr. Ian L. Jones, Biology Professor at Memorial University of Newfoundland, participating as a consultant. This book is being made by and for Nunatsiavummiut.

The first year of the project involved meeting with Nunatsiavummiut to discuss the idea and identify research goals from the communities. We received significant feedback from the Nunatsiavut communities on the project, such as a strong need for traditional knowledge to be documented and for youth to be involved. We also had the chance to speak with Elders and document traditional knowledge on various birds and significant places in Nunatsiavut.

Going forward, the project aims to record more traditional knowledge from knowledge-holders in the communities and work with youth to foster interest in traditional knowledge and the natural world.

The project has a Facebook page where Nunatsiavut and Upper Lake Melville residents post photos, videos, and information about birds.