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Haulin Rope and Gaff (1978)

by Shannon Ryan

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Men and boys of Newfoundland's north East Coast always looked forward to the coming of March. It was sealing or swilin' time. Seal meat would give some reprieve to `the long and hungry month of March by which time the family food store was very low. At this time of the year, sealing provided the only opportunity to obtain fresh meat and the pelts brought long awaited cash. Shannon Ryan was bo and bred in Riverhead, Harbor Grace, the one time home of the great sealing industry. He attended secondary school in his home community and later received an education degree from Memorial University. After spending several years teaching in Newfoundland he taught for two years at ranking inlet in North West Territories. In the late 1960's he retu ed to university and later obtained a M. A. in history at Memorial University. He has done extensive research on the Newfoundland seal and cod fisheries and has spent one summer doing fisheries research in Norway. Larry Small was bo and reared in Morton's Harbor, Notre Damme Bay. He killed his first whitecoat at the age of fifteen: the gaff was a dogwood selected from the woods by his father and the hook crafted by the community blacksmith. He attended the one room Methodist school in Morton's Harbor and later took up studies at Memorial University. During his BA at Memorial he came under the influence of the inte ationally known scholar, Herbert Halpert, who inspired him to study for an MA degree of folklore and folklife at the University of Pennsylvania. All of his field research has been in Newfoundland outporting community's where he has done extensive work on various aspects of talk among fishermen. Since 1974 he has been teaching in the department of Folklore at Memorial University.… (more)
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Dedicated to the Newfoundland sealers,
a rare and hearty breed
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PREFACE
 
This collection is an attempt to bring together from various sources songs from Newfoundland's sealing tradition.
INTRODUCTION
The Seal Fishery in Newfoundland's Economy and Culture
 

The Newfoundland economy and the Newfoundland culture, in their traditional forms, rested upon and were shaped by the cod and seal fisheries.
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Men and boys of Newfoundland's north East Coast always looked forward to the coming of March. It was sealing or swilin' time. Seal meat would give some reprieve to `the long and hungry month of March by which time the family food store was very low. At this time of the year, sealing provided the only opportunity to obtain fresh meat and the pelts brought long awaited cash. Shannon Ryan was bo and bred in Riverhead, Harbor Grace, the one time home of the great sealing industry. He attended secondary school in his home community and later received an education degree from Memorial University. After spending several years teaching in Newfoundland he taught for two years at ranking inlet in North West Territories. In the late 1960's he retu ed to university and later obtained a M. A. in history at Memorial University. He has done extensive research on the Newfoundland seal and cod fisheries and has spent one summer doing fisheries research in Norway. Larry Small was bo and reared in Morton's Harbor, Notre Damme Bay. He killed his first whitecoat at the age of fifteen: the gaff was a dogwood selected from the woods by his father and the hook crafted by the community blacksmith. He attended the one room Methodist school in Morton's Harbor and later took up studies at Memorial University. During his BA at Memorial he came under the influence of the inte ationally known scholar, Herbert Halpert, who inspired him to study for an MA degree of folklore and folklife at the University of Pennsylvania. All of his field research has been in Newfoundland outporting community's where he has done extensive work on various aspects of talk among fishermen. Since 1974 he has been teaching in the department of Folklore at Memorial University.

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