On Saturday, October 27th, the Newfoundland and Labrador Provincial Historical Commemorations Program held a ceremony at the Mount Peyton Hotel in Grand Falls-Windsor to celebrate six new designations throughout the province.
One of the catergories was a Tradition Bearer and Mr. John Nick Jeddore of Conne River was honoured in this category at the event.
A Tradition Bearer is a person with a high degree of knowledge of the skills required to perform, or recreate specific elements of Newfoundland and Labrador’s Intangible Cultural Heritage; especially aspects that may be rare or in danger of being lost.
John Nick Jeddore
John Nick Jeddore was born at Conne River on October 1st, 1922, and has always dedicated his time and knowledge to the people of his community. He remains an active businessman, hunter, fisher, a pillar of the church and community and a model of an elder.
He was a member of the Maiwpukek Band at Conne River and has worked tirelessly to teach and keep the traditional skills and knowledge of the Mi’kmaw culture alive in Newfoundland and Labrador.
Mr. Jeddore spent much of his early life in the interior of Newfoundland learning the ways of his ancestors, living off and taking care of the land.
In 1941, while buying ammunition in St. Alban’s, he decided to enlist in the Newfoundland Overseas Forestry Unit. He was sent to Scotland where he helped cut wood for the British coal industry. Promoted to assistant scaler, he was eventually given the responsibility of training members of the 3rd Inverness Battalion Home Guard.
He returned home in 1945 when the war ended and went to work cutting pulp wood for Bowaters until 1954.
In 1965 he opened a general store, which he operated until 2007.
He was the first president of the Conne River Native Council and he also served as a councillor with the Miawpukek Band Council.
John Nick has always showed a deep dedicated commitment to understanding and keeping the cultural of his community and traditional activities of the Mi’kmaw vibrant and relevant to generations of Newfoundlanders and Labradoreans. His expertise has been noted, not just in Newfoundland and Labrador, but also across Canada.
In 2005 Mr. Jeddore became the first Newfoundlander to receive the Elder Achievement Award from the Mi’kmaw of Nova Scotia. The Executive Director of the Mi’kmaw Association of Cultural Studies has identified Mr. Jeddore as an “elder of historical significance that is considered by many to be an open book on the Mi’kmaw culture of his province.
He has engaged in a number of face-to-face educational programs throughout Atlantic Canada and he is a regular participant in the Cultural Days at St. Anne’s School in Conne River.
He regularly speaks to young men and women’s cultural groups teaching them about past ways while encouraging them to invest in their education. Through keeping traditional culture and practices relevant, John Nicholas has sought to master new technologies. He has appeared in a CBC documentary, started a blog, and employed Social Media such as Facebook and YouTube to help reveal cultural traditions and practices of the Mi’kmaw.
Through his online efforts he has reached audiences as far away as Alberta and Vermont. John Nicholas Jeddore is an expert on the intangible cultural heritage of the Mi’kmaw and his efforts have helped to bring about a major change in how his culture is viewed in Newfoundland and Labrador. His tireless efforts have helped to ensure that his fellow Newfoundlanders and Labradoreans understand how the Mi’kmaw has enriched our diverse culture.
Provincial Historical Commemorations Program
The Provincial Historical Commemorations Program was recently established by the Government of Newfoundland to allow for better recognition and honouring of our cultural and historic treasures.
This new program is distinct in that it recognizes intangible aspects of Newfoundland history and heritage such as customs, cultural practices, traditional skills and knowledge that define the province and its people.
“The commemorations program honours aspects of our history and culture that are of provincial significance,” said the Honourable Terry French, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Recreation.
“Citizens of our province are given the opportunity to nominate not only persons, places, and events of historical importance, but also those individuals who help preserve and cultivate our cultural practices, traditional skills, and knowledge. Such practices help to define us as Newfoundlanders and Labradoreans.”
“This program gives the people of our province an opportunity to nominate aspects of Newfoundland and Labrador’s culture and heritage that they feel are provincially significant and worthy of recognition,” stated Geraldine Jeddore-Caul, daughter of Mr. Jeddore.
MHA Tracey Perry stated that she was extremely pleased with all the recipients of the Commemoration Ceremony.
“It’s a wonderful thing to have the Provincial Historical Commemorations Program in place and I would certainly like to thank all the nominees and the successful recipients for the special work that they do to insure that our future generations retain our culture and heritage,” stated Ms. Perry.