First Indigenous-European Pair to Walk

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First Indigenous-European Pair to Walk Across Newfoundland Celebrated 200 Years Later: Pardy
PC MHAs will join Mayor Milton Ellis of the Town of George’s Brook-Milton and organizer William Clarke to celebrate the 200th Anniversary of the start of the journey on foot across the Island of Newfoundland by William Epps Cormack and Sylvester Joe.
Friday, September 2, 2022

(September 2, 2022,George's Brook-Milton) – Craig Pardy, PC Shadow Minister of Tourism and MHA for Bonavista, along with PC colleagues, Lloyd Parrott, MHA for Terra Nova and Tony Wakeham, MHA for Stephenville - Port au Port, will join Mayor Milton Ellis of the Town of George’s Brook-Milton and organizer William Clarke to celebrate the 200th Anniversary of the start of the journey on foot across the Island of Newfoundland by William Epps Cormack and Sylvester Joe.

Exactly 200 years ago on September 5, 1822, William Epps Cormack and Sylvester Joe became the first-ever European-Indigenous team to embark on a successful journey by foot across the island of Newfoundland, not only making history, but setting a powerful example of intercultural collaboration.

On Monday, September 5, the PC MHAs for the regions at the start and end of the trek will join in celebrating the bicentennial of this historic event in Milton, starting at 11:30am.

“What William Cormack and Sylvester Joe accomplished with their long walk across the island is not as well-known as it ought to be, given its profound historic significance for Newfoundland and Labrador and for what it says to us about the importance of collaboration between Indigenous people and those who came to these lands later,” said Pardy.

Parrott says he hopes the event can raise further awareness of this monumental achievement.

“Governments ought to be doing more to promote this endeavour as an example of what people can accomplish when they put their differences aside, set impossibly high goals and refuse to give up in the face of adversity, even when the odds may seem to be stacked against them,” said Parrott.

Wakeham says the tale is a story of what is possible when differences are set aside and people support one another.

“What many people may not realize is that this journey - which lasted three months, even as snow fell in November - nearly took the life of William Cormack, who persevered regardless. It would never have been successful without his Mi’kmaq guide, Sylvester Joe,” said
Wakeham.

“There were no roads, pathways or communities along the way - only hardships that were made bearable when the pair encountered Indigenous families who shared their hospitality and pointed the way. Indeed, they are all pointing the way to us now, 200 years later.”

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Contacts:

David Maher

Director of Strategic Communications

(cell) 709-725-0984

DavidMaher@gov.nl.ca

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