Maggo, Paulus

Author, hunter, elder and political advisor born in 1910 in Salmon Bright (Nunatsiavut) and died in 2000 in Nain (Nunatsiavut).

Paulus Maggo, also known as Renatus, was born in Salmon Bright, Labrador (now Nunatsiavut) in 1910. He and his older sister Ernestina were raised by their parents, Tobias Maggo and Regina Stone in Kangatjak north of Big Brook in Newfoundland. In 1932, he married Nom Martin, also known as Naeme, with whom he had three children: Zacharias, Amos and Regina. His family included several grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Paulus Maggo was an experienced hunter, trapper and fisherman who learned traditional techniques by observing his father and other hunters.

In the 1970s, Paulus Maggo became involved in politics as an advisor and negotiator for various causes affecting the Inuits of Labrador. He participated in the House of Commons hearings in 1976 to debate the James Bay and Northern Quebec Native Claims Settlement Act. He acted as a negotiator for various claim actions by the Inuit of Labrador, on subjects such as environment, political autonomy and territorial rights. He was also one of the founders of the Labrador Inuit Association (LIA), the forerunner of the Nunatsiavut Government created in 2005.

In 1991, Paulus Maggo, who lived in the town of Nain (Nunatsiavut) at that time, was one of the oldest and most respected elders in his region. For these reasons, he was selected to share his life story at the request of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples, established by the Canadian Parliament. Paulus Maggo testified about his life as part of the Labrador Inuit Life Histories project, led by Montreal anthropologist Carol Brice-Bennett. The project’s purpose was to illustrate the life of the Nunatsiavut Inuit today and in the past. Martin Jararuse, one of the three Inuit participating in the research, conducted the majority of the interviews in Inuttitut, under the direction of Brice-Bennett. Paulus Maggo's testimony was then transcribed and translated by local Inuk, Samuel Metcalfe and then edited by Brice-Bennett. The final version of the text was translated into Inuttitut and approved by its author, Paulus Maggo.

In 1996, Carol Brice-Bennett presented her research report Remembering the Years of my Life to the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples, which included Paulus Maggo's testimony. In 1999, with the permission of Paulus Maggo and the Commission, the anthropologist published a fuller version of the elder's story entitled Remembering the Years of my Life: Journeys of a Labrador Inuit Hunter in collaboration with the Institute of Social and Economic Research at Memorial University in St. John's, Newfoundland.

Dedicated to his grandson Rolland Maggo, Paulus Maggo's story is divided into five parts, telling the story, not only of his personal life, but also that of other Inuit in his region and of his generation. It highlights the changes that affected the way of life of his people during the twentieth century. Several photographs of the Nain region, its inhabitants, as well as photographs of Paulus Maggo himself are included.

During the winter of 2000, Paulus Maggo died in the town of Nain (Nunatsiavut) at the age of ninety.

This biography is based on the available written material during a collective research carried out during 2018-2021. It is possible that mistakes and facts need to be corrected. If you notice an error, or if you wish to correct something in an author's biography, please write to us at and we will be happy to do so. This is how we will be able to have more precise presentations, and to better promote Inuit culture.

(c) International Laboratory for Research on Images of the North, Winter and the Arctic, Université du Québec à Montréal, 2018-2021, Daniel Chartier and al.