The Spanish influenza pandemic of 1918 killed millions of people but nowhere on earth was the devastation greater than in Labrador. Seventy per cent of the Inuit in Okak and Hebron and twenty per cent of the residents of Sandwich Bay died. During the disaster, a few people kept journals; government records and newspaper accounts noted the occurrence of mass death in Labrador. In the years following, survivors were interviewed, especially by staff of Labrador’s oral history quarterly, Them Days. For her new book, We All Expected To Die: Spanish Influenza in Labrador, 1918-1919, Anne Budgell examined these information sources, and along with the story of hardship and suffering, found discrepancies, contradictions, and fabrications. In her lecture, she will discuss the challenges of reconstructing a story from a hundred years ago. The audience will also see the National Film Board documentary from 1985, The Last Days of Okak.
Listen to Anne Budgell’s lecture: