Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Snubbies and Salting Fish: Conversations from Fogo Island

Over 16 hours of audio interviews with residents of Fogo Island, collected over the past thirty years, is now available on-line through the Intangible Cultural Heritage Collection on Memorial University’s Digital Archives Initiative.

The Province’s Intangible Cultural Heritage Development Officer, Dale Jarvis says “In the 1980s and 90s, Dr. Gerald Pocius and Mark Ferguson visited different communities in Fogo Island and recorded their conversations with residents of Tilting, Joe Batt's Arm, Little Fogo Island, Barr'd Island, Shoal Bay, Seldom-Come-By, Deep Bay, Island Harbour and the Town of Fogo. They feature topics like the placement of stages, the methods for catching and cleaning fish, the community aspects of fishing, and personal anecdotes.”

“Even by the 1990s, no one had started to document the Newfoundland fish stage--the most important architectural form of our culture. I knew Fogo Island had the largest number of surviving examples, and was the logical choice to begin such a study.” says Dr. Gerald Pocius, University Research Professor, Department of Folklore

These audio interviews are available in full on the Digital Archives Initiative and provide a clear picture of the old and current ways of fisherman on Fogo Island. The materials collected vary across the wide spectrum of intangible cultural heritage. Included in the inventory is fishing premises and practices, berry picking, wedding customs, fiddling, vernacular architecture, cultural landscapes, food preparation, textile traditions, and furniture.

  • Memorial University’s Digital Archives Initiative can be found at

  • Interview with Bill Godwin, Barr'd Island - Part 1

  • Bill Godwin describes a "choice fish"
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