The Cabot celebrations

Holy Heart High School
St. John's, Newfoundland

By Robyn R. (Grade 11)

Bonavista Harbour will once again feel the presence of John Cabot's ship, as its salty waters splash against the Matthew's wooden exterior. The Matthew, "the next generation", will touch the shores of Bonavista on June 24th, commemorating 500 years since its original visit and wishing Newfoundlanders a happy 500th birthday. Cake, balloons and other party favours will mark this festive occasion along with the return of a replica of the Matthew. Millions of dollars have been spent on party hats and loot bags, yet could this "party of the century" merely be a cover for a different purpose?

Despite reports that have indicated corruption at all levels, I believe the true intent of the Cabot celebrations is to be a party! However, this party is not celebrating 500 years since Cabot and his ship discovered our New founde land. It is, in reality, a farewell party to the people of Newfoundland.

John Cabot travelled westward in 1497. Five hundred years later, Newfoundlanders are doing the same. University graduates, families and entire communities are leaving our unemployment-stricken province for the job-rich west. Newfoundlanders are leaving at an alarming rate. Thirty-thousand have repeated the actions of Cabot and ventured westward in the search of a better life. In a province where resettlement has been a part of our past and was declared an important step in our development, it is ironic that resettlement may possibly lead to our downfall. This "new" form of resettlement uproots Newfoundlanders and replants them into the bigger and better cities of the west. The rural communities which were once the backbone of the Newfoundland culture have almost disappeared. A way of life that the people of this province were once proud of is now in danger of being destroyed. Perhaps the Newfoundland people should apply to the endangered species list, since their culture seems to be on the verge of extinction. Then are the Cabot celebrations celebrating the "swearing-in" of this club? If that is so the case, I make this plea to the people of Newfoundland - let's go out in style and have a great party come June 24th.

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