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Proud to be a Newfoundlander!
By Evan McCarthy, Grade 8, St. Paul's Intermediate School, Gander, NL

Did you hear the one about the Newfie who was killed while ice fishing?
He was run over by the Zamboni.

At the pizza shop the chef asks a Newfie:

"Do you want your pizza cut into six pieces or twelve?" The Newfie replies,
"Six please, I could never eat twelve pieces."

It's okay for us to laugh at ourselves; some even say it's healthy. It is not nice to laugh at others. We learned that in kindergarten. The Newfie joke can be quite acceptable when we tell them about ourselves. It is not funny when other people are laughing at us. My grandmother is a good example; she gets mad when she hears a Newfie joke. She says to me, "Aren't we as good as other Canadians?"

Think about it!
Of course we are. Canada is a multicultural society. We accept everybody. We aren't racist.

Some Canadians, however, see Newfoundlanders as a drain on the Canadian economy. They say we are always looking for handouts from Ottawa and living on unemployment most of the year. That, actually, is an uneducated view of our province. Maybe we need to educate those who tell Newfie jokes.

Think about it!
Newfoundlanders have every reason to be proud. We have a great heritage. We have amazing natural resources. We are caring and hospitable people. We have a moderate climate and great scenery. Newfoundland is a great place to live.

We can take pride in our history. Imagine the bravery, hardiness and ingenuity of the first settlers who arrived on our shores. The winters were rough but they persevered. Newfoundlanders had to survive on supplies obtained by trading fish they caught, animals they hunted, and food they harvested in the summer season. This is our heritage. These were our ancestors.

I can remind you of the endless stories of brave Newfoundlanders from our past. Stories of sea rescues by Newfoundland fishermen and by the Newfoundland dog are common. The Newfoundland dog is known worldwide, a breed developed right here. In World War II, during the siege of Hong Kong, a Japanese soldier threw a grenade into a group of Canadians. As soon as it fell, the regimental mascot, a Newfoundland dog, picked up the grenade and ran from the men. The grenade exploded, killing the dog instantly. The dog saved the lives of 20 men.

In July 1832, there was a shipwreck near Isle Aux Mort. 127 people were saved by the Harvey family & their Newfoundland dog.

Newfoundland is no longer isolated. The Internet has taken the power from the phrase "geographical isolation". We are connected to the rest of the world and have everything at our fingertips. We have the e-mail, online messaging and online shopping. People complain about the Newfoundland weather, saying it's so cold. It is not. Our climate is moderate. Other parts of the North America have up to twelve hurricanes a year. They also have tornados, landslides, and earth quakes. We don't have intolerable heat and humidity. In Newfoundland we only have blizzards.

Newfoundland has contributed to Canada with our rich natural resources. Primary industries in forestry and mining provided financial profits for developers. Our hydro electricity supplies mainland Canada and the northeastern United States. The waters of Newfoundland and Labrador were rich in cod and fed the world for five centuries. This was a great resource Canada gained on Newfoundland's entry to Confederation. Now under federal management, we are dealing with near extinction of the northern cod.

Newfoundlanders need to stand tall with pride. We need to remind the rest of Canada that we continue to contribute greatly to this country, as we have in the past. There is nothing to joke about actually. Only our actions and our attitude can put an end to Newfie jokes. Be proactive; speak up when a Newfie joke comes your way. Don't just laugh and be uncomfortable. Be aware of more than the punch line.

Think about it!


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