Muriel Andersen, Labrador's 'Aunt Mu,' remembered as caring soul through 105-year life

Muriel Andersen, a respected Inuk elder in Makkovik, died last week at the age of 105. (Fillatre's Funeral Homes - image credit)
Muriel Andersen, a respected Inuk elder in Makkovik, died last week at the age of 105. (Fillatre's Funeral Homes - image credit)
Fillatre's Funeral Homes
Fillatre's Funeral Homes

Muriel Andersen, a well-known and respected Inuk elder from Makkovik, died last week at the long-term care facility in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, just weeks after celebrating her 105th birthday.

Andersen — known to just about everyone as "Aunt Mu" — is survived by four of her six children, 21 grandchildren, 37 great-grandchildren, and 28 great-great-grandchildren.

"While it hurts and we will have our moments, for us it's more or less like a celebration of life for 105 years old and the many blessings she brought to her family and to a lot of friends that she knew up and down the coast," Andersen's son Wally Andersen, a member of the Nunatsiavut government and former Liberal MHA, told CBC News earlier this month.

Andersen was born on Dunn Island, Labrador, in 1917. Her husband died while she was in her 40s, leaving her to raise her children on her own.

Wally Andersen said he remembers a hard-working woman who loved the joys of helping people, fuelled by her love of singing and her devout Moravian faith.

"Her faith was strong, and it's her faith that will carry her home to her eternal home of rest," he said. "You reach out and how help people, and you do the best. And you never expect anything back in return. That's the way she was, and she did that basically for 105 years."

Andersen was forced to attend boarding school beginning in 1923. Her son says she tended to speak more of the good times than bad — that's just the way she was, he said.

"We're going to draw strength for our mom. And her strength is something I think everyone who knew her, not just her children, will cherish," he said.

Submitted by Wally Andersen
Submitted by Wally Andersen

Tributes have poured in from across Labrador in the days since her death.

Nunatsiavut President Johannes Lampe acknowledged that she endured a lot in her life — living through two world wars, two pandemics and residential schools — while NunatuKavut President Todd Russell said her loss will be felt throughout the region.

Her son said his mother gave them a lifetime to cherish.

"There's millions and millions of memories, but the greatest gift of all that we have is the memory that she was our mom," Wally said. "And we loved her, and we're going to miss her greatly."

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