What defines us as being from Newfoundland and Labrador

Published on May 14, 2017

The people Newfoundland and Labrador are known for their willingness to help someone in need.

©Deposit Photo

A true Newfoundlander has one package of Purity crackers and eats salt beef once a day.
Or so I’m told by at least one of my friends.

Nicholas Mercer

A true Newfoundlander has one package of Purity crackers and eats salt beef once a day.
Or so I’m told by at least one of my friends.
I don’t think he’s wrong. We’ve all purchased at least one package of Purity crackers, Jam-Jams or whatever in our lifetime and who doesn’t love a piece of salt beef
The response came after I posed the question on social media about what does it mean when someone calls you a “true Newfoundlander.”
I’ve seen the term bounced around on social media, but I’ve always been curious what it stands for.
Aren’t we all Newfoundlanders?
We all carry the reputation of being friendly, salt of the Earth people with a knack for story telling and deeply in love with our Irish roots.
I was unsure what separates a “true Newfoundlander” from the run-of-the-mill kind, so I wanted to find out.
I asked friends, colleagues and even a waitress at a local Corner Brook restaurant what they felt the term meant. I came away with a couple of different responses.
At the top of list is most certainly “someone you can’t understand.”
Jokes aside, use of language, the accent and imaginative ways to swear are all things that tie us to this province.
It’s something we’re proud off and just a piece of what makes a “true Newfoundlander.”
Someone suggested a true Newfoundlander was someone who lived before we became a part of Canada. It’s an interesting way to look at things, but misguided I find.
Even as a member of Canada, we’re from Newfoundland and Labrador first and foremost.
One person lamented being “from away” and would never be considered a true Newfoundlander.
Others associated it with people who give without expecting anything in return.
The answers were all the same. We’re a people known with a gift for gab and willing to give the shirts off our back to a complete stranger in an instance.
That left me back at the start.
Why do we need to call someone a “true Newfoundlander” when a Newfoundlander or Labradorian will do?
I don’t know if there’s a way to tell a Newfoundlander that’s “true” from a regular one.
If what separates them is kindness, a willingness to help someone in need, a natural resilience, someone who is down to earth and can tip them back, then there isn’t a separation.
Really, we’re all true Newfoundlanders.
Just do away with the term.

— Nicholas Mercer is the online editor with the Western Star. He lives in Corner Brook and can be reached at nmercer@thewesternstar.com