Sturla Böðvarsson
sturla@sturla.is

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Ræða ferðamálaráðherra Nýfundnalands

26. júní 2000
Charles J. Furey, ferðamálaráðherra Nýfundnalands flutti ræðu við brottför Íslendings, sem fer hér á eftir.
Hon. Charles J. Furey, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Recreation
Remarks on the Occasion of the Voyage of the Islendingur
Departure from Eirikstadir, Iceland
June 24, 2000

I stand proudly here today, in Eirikstadir, the birthplace of Leif Ericson, bringing the very best wishes of all the people of Newfoundland and Labrador as the Islendingur continues its historic voyage and adventure.

One week ago on your National holiday, I stood with your Prime Minister and my Premier, Brian Tobin, along with tens of thousands of well wishers, on a pier on Reykjavik Harbour and watches the Islendingur depart on its voyage to recreate a journey that had been taken 1000 years ago.

The ceremony was very emotional as the families of the crew embraced their brave sailors who were about to embark on an adventure of a lifetime, knowing the the next time they see them they will have recreated one of the most ambitious and challenging voyages any mariner could undertake. It was also a very joyous occasion, as the hard work and determination of people from Iceland and Newfoundland and Labrador came to fruition.

Today, this incredible story continues. As I stand where Leif Ericson stood over 1000 years ago, a place where his father, Eirik the Red, established a home and farm, I reflect upon the realization that it is from here that the story of Vinland really begins. As the crew of the Islendingur continue their voyage, we come to realize that it is this ship and its crew that bind us across oceans, peoples, cultures and time.

Sailing to Greenland around 981, the settlement there brought the Vikings within striking distance of North America. And so, Gunnar when you and your crew sail the Islendingur into Brattahlid in mid-July, you will be continuing to relive history and recreate this most awe inspiring story. A story that will truly come full circle when the Islendingur reaches L´Anse aux Meadows, Newfoundland where the Vikings landed 1000 years ago.

L´Anse aux Meadows, the only authenticated Viking site in North America, and a UNESCO World Heritage site, eagerly awaits the arrival of the Islendingur on July 28th.

Like you, we have worked hard to preserve an important part of our rich history by preserving and interpreting the Norse arrival in L´Anse aux Meadows. I believe that the recent reconstructions here and in Brattahlid allow us an immense opportunity to collectively tell the world the story of the Viking movement to North America, 500 years before Columbus. And I commit that we will do our utmost to work with you to further promote these three important cultural sites.

As part of our Millennium celebrations, we have planned a wide range of activities called Vikings ! 1000 years which centre around our Viking history. The celebrations are aimed at telling the world about the Viking arrival in North America, the only authenticated Viking site in North America, and the rich culture of the aboriginal peoples with whom they had first contact.

Some of the event include a museum exhibit that retells the story of the Viking arrival, Viking re-enactments, and an international symposium. The voyage of the Islendingur is one of the centre pieces of this celebration. Preparing for the Islendingur represents a voyage of discovery for the people of our province, as it makes its way to 10 ports of call in Newfoundland. Through our celebrations, we have all come to know and better appreciate that part of our heritage which we share with our first peoples and with you.

It is indeed overwhelming to think that over 1000 years ago, your ancestors left here to explore unknown lands. And with then, they took supplies and materials required to undertake such an epic journey.

The Islendingur now carries one such item - a piece of jasper from this region, a gift given to Captain Gunnar from your Prime Minister. Proven by a group of American and Canadian Scientists and archaeologists that jasper found at L´Anse aux Meadows came from western Iceland and from Greenland, this jasper symbolized the strong ties between our peoples and our lands. And so, with the presentation of this jasper by Captain Gunnar to the people of Canada on July 28th, we will, across 1000 years, and across oceans, once again meet as peoples and cultures.

On behalf of the people of my province, I am proud and honoured to have been invited to share this stage with your today as Iceland once again makes history. We share a Common pride today in the ties that do indeed bind us in the past and in the present.

As the Islendingur makes her way to Newfoundland and Labrador, let me say that we are all eagerly awaiting her safe arrival at L´Anse aux Meadows.

Captain Gunnar, to all crew, see you on July 28th in L´Anse aux Meadows, 1000 years after your forefathers, and GODSPEED!
 
 
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