When spring winds and tide emptied
Labrador fiords of winter pack ice,
Archaic Indians ventured in primitive
Skin boats, beyond familiar mountain
Peaks to hunt walrus and seal, toggled
Antler harpoon heads, stout lines from
Rounding cuts of drawn seal hide.
On pristine white-capped Labrador
Waves, they paddled boats and hunted
As single tribe, struggled Arctic regions,
Survival in an ancient hostile land, to
Kill walrus, men fighting aggressive sea
Mammals, where as many warriors
Lived as lost their able lives.
Ancient inhabitants of Labrador, they
Uttered few words to express complex
Thoughts: hunt, fear, concern, transient
Years upon treeless high-sloped beaches,
Stark maritime homeland, sea storms,
Threat of disease and death in hostile
Changing climate, hazardous terrain.
Archaic inland Indians refined hunting
Methods to drive caribou along rocky
Walls, to use their herding instincts to
Kill en masse as bleating animals trampled
Unwittingly into hailing arrows and
Spears, primitive but effective weapons,
Dawning days of Labrador occupation.
Constructed from a wind-blocking stones,
Hearth sites indicate extent of migration
Along the arduous rocky coastline and into
Northern barrenlands, Caribou summer
Calving. There, they hunted, sun-warmed
Days of plenty, sewing skin clothing,
Crafting polished slate tools, weapons.
While customs, language and religion of
Archaic maritime peoples are time-lost,
Surviving non-lithic artifacts provide
Distant glimpses of an intriguing ancient
Tribes that roamed these noble lands five
Thousand years ago, and like glacial ice,
Gradually melted from Labrador shores.
For more information on Archaic Maritime Indians, see these informative websites: