Recognition in 2005

The Government of Canada honours the memory of Mattie Mitchell as a person of national historic significance by unveiling a plaque in his honour at Gros Morne national Park . The following article appeared in The Western Star June 27, 2005.
The photo below is courtesy of Jessie Stone and is not exactly the same as the one that appeared with the article.


A plaque of the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada commemorating Mattie Mitchell as a person of national historic significance was unveiled Sunday in Gros Morne National Park. Seen during Sunday's ceremony are, from left, Reverend Aidan Devine, Priscilla Drew, elder, Miaqpukek First Nation; Marle Mitchell-Sparkes, Mitchell's granddaughter,

and her grandaughter Nicole Mitchell; Gerry Byrne, Commons member for Humber-St. Barbe-Bale Verte; Bob Cuff, author of the board's agenda paper nominating Mitchell; and Trevor Taylor, provincial minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture and legislature member for The Straits and White Bay North.

Park plaque honours Mattie Mitchell's place in history

ROCKY HARBOUR - Humber St. Barbe-Baie Verte MP Gerry Byrne unveiled a plaque Sunday commemorating Mattie Mitchell as a person of national historic significance.
Byrne attended the ceremony on behalf of Stephane Dion, minister of Environment and minister responsible for Parks Canada. The plaque was unveiled in Gros Morne National Park during a Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada ceremony held to commemorate the respected Mi'kmaq hunter, trapper, prospector, guide and former Bonne Bay resident.
"The history of aboriginal people extends back tens of thousands of years in Canada," said Dion in a prepared release. "It is a rich and powerful history that offers Canadians unique insights and perspectives on our development as a nation, as well as on the protection and presentation of our shared natural and cultural heritage. Commemorating the past contributions of aboriginal peoples ensures that their stories and traditional knowledge will be preserved for all time."
Byrne said it was Mitchell's outstanding knowledge of the land that allowed him to make such important contributions to the economy and culture of Newfoundland.
"His legacy is still alive and very
well respected in this province, and now throughout all of Canada," said Byrne. "It is a pleasure to honour this man who has had such a large role to play in shaping our Canadian heritage."
Fisheries Minister Trevor Taylor, legislature member for The Straits and White Bay North, represented the province at Sunday's ceremony.
"It is fitting that Mattie Mitchell should be recognized for the considerable impact he had on the development of industry in this province," said Taylor. "He lives on in the mining and exploration industry, and even the tourism industry that he helped to build in the Gros Morne National Park area."
A 19th century writer described Mitchell as the greatest and most resourceful woodsman who ever lived. Mitchell, made an exceptional contribution to the exploration and mapping of the Northern Peninsula. In 1904, he guided a party up the Northern Peninsula, where his extensive knowledge of waterways and other geographical features led to the drawing of the first map of the region. His discovery in 1905 of valuable ore deposits in Buchans resulted in the further development of the island's mining industry in the 20th century.
Chief Mi'sel Joe of the Miawpukek First Nation, Conne River, expressed the importance of
recognizing the contribution of Mitchell, and other aboriginal peoples, to the province. "This is a testament to our history as a distinct people in this province, as well as a testament to the Mi'kmaq who live and thrive here today," he said.
Brendan Sheppard, president of the Federation of Newfoundland Indians, said he was pleased with the positive participation of all involved, "especially the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada in recognition of a wellknown Mi'kmaq individual."
Mitchell's granddaughter, Marie Mitchell-Sparks, noted that Sunday was a very proud day for her family. "I'm so pleased to see my grandfather be recognized for his many contributions," she said. "Our family shares this day, and this legacy, with Mi'kmaq everywhere."
Created in 1919, the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada advises the minister of the Environment about the national historic significance of places, persons and events that have marked Canada's history. The placement of a commemorative plaque represents an official recognition of their historic value.
It is one means of educating the public about the richness of our cultural heritage, which must be preserved for present and future generations.

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