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Nunavut 10th Anniversary Celebration

Photographs and Film, Part 2

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Gisèle Jacob: We will now move from film to photography. We'll hear from Beth Greenhorn who'll talk about Project Naming. Beth is a project manager in the programs branch of Library and Archives Canada. She has an Canadian history. She has travelled in the Arctic, has worked several years with elders and students for the program Project Naming. So, Beth, you have the floor.

Beth Greenhorn: Bonjour. Welcome, everybody. As Gisèle said I'm here to talk about Project Naming this afternoon. This is a trilingual web exhibition with a searchable data base that's available in French and English and Inuktitut. What I'd like to do today is just briefly speak about the project. It's gone through a number of phases since we launched it officially in 2004, and following that Elder Singuuri and three students from Nunavut Sivuniksavut who we've been in collaboration with will say a few personal words about the project and how it's touched them, more on a personal level. So I just have on the screen right now the splash page of the site, and I've just brought a few pictures along. I didn't add captions today because of all the translations, so, and I hope… I'll do my best with the Inuktitut names. One of the… or Library and Archives Canada has thousands of photographs of Inuit. These are found in public and private collections, and as the national archival institution in this country, we are given the role of acquiring national objects, photographs… we have, like, a number of various collections that include maps and film that you've seen today and published material, and we also acquire federal government documents, and many of the documents that we do have in our collection were created by federal public servants who travelled north on yearly annual expeditions to the Arctic bringing different social programs and geological surveys and other… the work they were doing, many of these photographs, workers also took many photographs of the people who live there. Unfortunately, there was a language barrier and for various other reasons the photographs that we ended up acquiring, the majority of them never… the Inuit depicted in them were never identified. So we've been left with, literally, thousands of photographs that have no names attached to these faces. And, so, Project Naming, one of the goals of that is to add these names back to these photographs and make that information known. So two examples I have are fairly representative of images in our collection. Both feature unidentified individuals. The two girls on… I always get this backwards… your left, anyway, there's only two girls there, they're from Chesterfield Inlet, and that photograph was taken in 1926, and the gentleman is, his photograph is taken in an unknown community to us, and we don't have his name. And, actually, one of the goals I wanted to do today as well as… I've brought a few photos that haven't been identified, and I also, as you'll see, there's photographs in the foyer and some of them have been identified as a result of this project, but there are a number of others who aren't, and actually just before coming into the room during break, I have to say I'm delighted that a gentleman by the name of [Kutik] discovered his photograph. He was a little boy of about age five or six, he's on that far wall, and so it's… I've made a connection with him. He's going to be getting the poster next week when we're done with this exhibition and I'll be adding that information. He and his friend, Louis, this is the other little boy in that picture. So if anyone has any other information please let me know, and I'll be happy to take that down or at least get in touch with me later.

There are three goals with Project Naming. The first has been to foster discussion between the younger generation of Inuit as a way of reconnecting and understanding their past by sharing memories and stories about the photographs with elders. The second has been to tap into the rich resource of elders' memories so that the names can be attached to the photographic records of previously unidentified individuals held at Library and Archives Canada's collections. And the third has been to share that knowledge with Nunavut, as well as the rest of Canada, and this is by making these images available online to better understand and appreciate Inuit culture and history. Here's two more examples of photographs that have been digitized for the project. When the photograph of the young woman with her baby was identified as a result after the project went online and her name is [Damarus Ituktasuk Kadluksiak] and she's seen packing her son, Mike [Kadluksiak], and this was taken in Igloolik in 1956, or, sorry, '65. And as of yet, the other photograph of the children, and I have another version in the foyer, was taken in Pangnirtung in 1975, and I'm… this wasn't taken that, that long ago, so I'm really hoping maybe someone here today might be from this community and might be able to identify either themselves or somebody in the picture. So, as I mentioned, the project has gone through several phases. It officially began in 2001 when a partnership was established between Nunavut Sivuniksavut Training Program, which is a post-secondary school, based in Ottawa, the government of Nunavut's Department of Culture, Language, Elders and Youth, otherwise known as CLEY, and Library and Archives Canada, and Murray Angus, who is sitting part way in the back here, he's an instructor at Nunavut Sivuniksavut and he's really… can be credited for getting Project Naming off the ground and approaching Library and Archives Canada to, you know, if we'd be interested in working jointly on this venture. So I'm delighted to say that we have been working on it, and it's started, as I said, in approximately 2001, 2002 and the picture that we have here is an early photo that was taken of Sheba [Awwa] who was one of the youth field workers who visited many elders during that winter, and in this picture she's seen showing elder Eugene [Apangnuk] images on a laptop. And the way that it has worked is that youth from the college and others have taken CD's that, we've digitized these photographs, they've taken them on CD's on laptops and then taken them back to show elders in their communities, and that information that elders give the youth then is given back, put into a spreadsheet and then it's sent back to us where we then enter it into the data base and make it available on line. Oh, and I should say, the photograph of the man is [Ikoumak] and this is Melanie [Ipkarnak's] father and this photograph was taken in Igloolik in 1949 and this was one of the first photographs… or part of the first photographs that was identified when the project began. So, since its inception, the project has progressed through several phases. So the time that we're seeing right now is the pre-website phase, and during the pre-website approximately 500 photographs from the Richard Harrington collection were scanned and taken north and about 75 percent of those came back with identifications. And partly for the success of that was that most of the Harrington photographs were taken in the late 1940's, early 1950's, and so the likelihood of elders and older people being, like, young enough when the pictures were, or old enough, anyway... there are enough people around that were living during that period that they would still recognize people. However, we do have a number of examples of people that were identified in photographs that were taken much earlier, and I don't have an example here, but in the foyer there's a photograph taken in the early 1900s of three women, and Sarah [Siliu] who is sitting in the second row, discovered it was her grandmother? That's right. She's the woman featured on the left, and that picture was taken as early as the 1900's, like early 1900's, so we do have examples. The summer of 2003 marked my beginning with the project, and that year, or that summer, we focused on Baffin region because the majority of students studying at Nunavut Sivuniksavut were from the Baffin area, and we felt that that would… we should focus on that area. Approximately 800 photos were digitized that summer, and we didn't have nearly the success rate as we did with the Richard Harrington photographs, but about 200 photographs did come back with identifications. In October, 2004, Project Naming officially launched, and the site that… you can have a look at it. There's four computers in the foyer that you can have a look through the website. It has information about the collection and then a link to the database, and then since then we've been adding to the database and there have been a couple of modifications to the website, but basically the information stays the same. And that… the following fall, CLEY, the department from the government of Nunavut that I mentioned, they recognized the urgency of this project and how time sensitive it was because elders, the people that have this knowledge, aren't going to be around forever, and once they're gone we'll have no way to gather information about these photographs. So, that fall, Sylvia Ivalu [Kulatulik], which is also Madeline Ivalu's daughter, so I'll have to introduce myself to her later, she and Joanna [Kowesa] and elders Louis [Utaq] and Abraham [Ulauuroq] they came to Ottawa for two weeks of research. I, well you can see them on the far side. I kept them busy for about five solid days of pouring through pictures. No, actually more than that. I didn't make them work the whole time, but… I think they were able to identify approximately 50 photographs during that time and then they took other photographs from Igloolik in Northern Baffin Island back with them and additional information was sent later. And in August, 2007, Project Naming was greatly expanded. We added more material to the content of the website and we added approximately 3,500 photographs to the collection. The photograph of the poster was something that I sent out in English, French and Inuktitut to every contact I had made since I started on Project Naming as a way to spread the word, because I felt t hat there are still people in Nunavut who hadn't heard about the project, and so I asked people to put this up in their community centres and telephone poles and health centres or wherever they could, and the picture on the second row, of the young woman carrying the baby, about a week after I sent the picture to Nunavut I had a very exciting email from Betty Lyle Brewster, and she… this was a picture that was currently, or at that time, had been unidentified, and she told me that her sister, Bella Lyle Wilcox, was seen carrying her, and we were able to narrow the date down to 1945. And then, immediately, she sent me a picture of her and her daughter, Janet Brewster, and asked me to put it on the website, and I have no capacity right now or place to hold it, so I thought, well, I would share that with you today. But during my time on the project I've had, I often have emails and exchanges with people in Nunavut and who have discovered themselves of their family members and it's been a really personal experience in that way for me, and it's just been, you know, an honour to work on a project like this. Other events that have happened… I wasn't even aware of this. In Pangnirtung, the community centre, or the folks that were involved at that, downloaded pictures from our data base and mounted these… these are two examples of pictures they had hanging in their community centre. So they are mounted on 11" x 17" sized prints, and they had people in the community identify the individuals in these pictures, and these, I brought these two as examples of very early pictures that were taken. So they both date from the 1920's, and, so the exciting thing is that there still are people alive today that were able to identify the people in the pictures. And for the photo archivists in the room, the… these numbers aren't on the pictures. (laughter) When I saw that I just kind of laughed because I thought this would really make identification really easy. Because when you get these huge groups of people and they're not all in single rows. Before we have Web 2.0 and some kind of social tagging, this would be really good. So, and not this past, or two springs ago, Sandra [Kilibuk] and her family members came down for research in Ottawa, and they brought me this bag of all these pictures that we had worked on and, so, we were able to identify, like, add this information to our data base. And, since September 2007, shortly after the second phase of Project Naming launched, Northern News Services approached us and offered to run a weekly photograph under the by-line, "Do You Know Your Elders?" So this has been ongoing for the last year and a half and it's been highly successful. I send them batches of photographs of people who aren't identified from as many communities as I can across Nunavut, and to date we've received probably 25, approximately 25 identifications and a great deal of information in some cases, like this one, of Margaret [Ulparkinuksak] and it was really exciting with this picture, both her granddaughters and her great granddaughter were able to identify her. They all had slightly different spellings of her name, so I, you know, picked one. But all the information was added to the additional information line, so that was all captured and, since then as an aside or just a continuation of the story, I sent a large 11" x 14" colour print of Margaret's photo, which now is hanging in the Visitor's Centre in Arviat, that is named after Margaret. And, more recently, I… or actually since the fall of 2006, I've been in fairly regular contact by email and phone conversations with Rankin Inlet resident Selma [Karaktak Eckles], Nancy's sister, and Selma, I guess, has been described as the family historian, and she regularly would visit the website, print pictures off and then take them to her family members, and the two women that are seen in the other photograph, or the one, is Rhoda [Karaktak], who is Nancy and Selma's mother, and their aunt Arianne [Matuimi], who is seen pictured in the right side photograph when she was a young girl. This was taken in Coral Harbour. And one thing that Selma made in a comment to me, which I thought was really interesting, that where in the past we've focused on the youth and elder connection with this project, Selma observed that the middle generation has also played a key role in helping form a bridge between the young and old., as many people of her generation can speak both languages. So Project Naming has, thus, become a multi-generational project fostering interaction and dialogue between youth, their parents and their grandparents. Just recently I had the honour this past November, I went to Rankin Inlet and Iqaluit to meet with residents there, and this was largely at Selma [Karatek Eckles]' invitation, and I held, while I was in Rankin Inlet, I held two photo identification gatherings, and one took place at the learning centre that afternoon with a number of invited elders, and then that evening we had a larger session at the hotel where about 90 people showed up. And two sisters, Lavinia Brown who's a former MLA, and her sister [Amatadi] are photographed holding photographs of their parents that they found, and Lavinia found herself in a picture taken at the residential school, or National Day School, no sorry, Federal Day School, in Chesterfield Inlet in the 1950's, and she is pictured… I'll just point her out right there. So I brought about 500 printouts to this event. We spread them out on the tables, and Mary Rose Engle [Shadlack] was an amazing interpreter and she recorded names directly on these printouts that I'm hoping to get back soon that we can start entering that information, but it was a really exciting period, and the rough count I did on leaving Rankin, there were approximately 225 people that were identified in approximately 115 pictures, so it was, like, amazing Rankin information. Okay, I'm done now. So anyway with that I will… I'm going to set up the next slide for Elder Singuuri.

Giselle Jacob: Thank you very much, Beth. That was fascinating. (Applause) What a wonderful project. I hate doing this to you. I really do. But we do want to hear about Elder Suzanne Singuuri's personal experience with Project Naming. Suzanne Singuuri is a mother, a grandmother, a great-grandmother. She is also a great-great-grandmother to a large family. She's an expert seamstress and in her youth she fully clothed her large family with skin boots and coats, made entirely on her own. She's also honorary grandmother to many Ottawa Inuit and has supported students away from home to keep their culture and their language strong. So I would ask Elder Suzanne Singuuri to please come and talk to us about her personal experience with Project Naming.


Suzanne Singuuri: Thank you very much. I like to thank all the people who work on archives. The person I was talking to, I had an agreement with her about archives. If we didn't have archives, Canada Archives, we would have lost all the important papers or pictures or any archives. I'm originally from Cape Dorset. My father used to tell me before I was born that a white person… worked with a white person before I was born. I'm the oldest in my family. My father and my mother were living together, and I was told that my father would look after a white person and they would go hunting on a canoe together. They would look at the wildlife, the marine life, and the white person would look at the… he was called [23:17 Inuktitut word], and they gave him an Inuk name [23:21 Inuktitut word], is a person who counts or observes wildlife. They would remove… they would look at the skeletal remains of different marine life. I believe he was a taxidermist as well. And he would do that with marine life, birds, as long as it was wildlife. And in the winter time, when I was born, after I was born, my father also worked with the same white man, and they would go traveling by dog team. I have seen their pictures in the archives here when they were heading towards and passed Cape Dorset, and I have seen their pictures captured here when they were on a dog team. I have seen those pictures because of the archival, and I have been with [24:35 Inuktitut] when we were being relocated to [24:39 Vanass] Harbour, by ]24:42 Inuktitut word], the boats. We lost a lot of our own photographs. We no longer have those in our family pictures. We'll probably never see them, but when my father worked with this white man, they worked together. They were looking for wildlife for the white man to do his stuff with. In Igloolik, also, they have seen tracks. When I was an elder I was told that they said the dog team, there was a dog team, and they had seen the foot tracks of a man that was running alongside, and he had, they could tell by the footprints that he was not a white person because of the way he ran, and there is the oral history, and they were referring to my father's footprints and the white man's footprints when they were travelling before I was born and when I was a child. I have a picture of my grandfather that I have seen and pictures of my grandfather was Peter [26:18 Pitulak] and I understand he was one of your famous photographers in your world. Thank you very much.


Gisèle Jacob: … just walking up the aisle. Again, related to Project Naming, I'm told three young people are going to come and speak with us about their experience with Project Naming: Nancy Mike, Elizabeth Ryan and Natasha [Mablik], the floor is yours. Ah, here they are.


Nancy Mike: Thank you. My name is Nancy Mike from Pangnirtung, Nunavut. I'm living here in Ottawa, taking the Nunavut Sivuniksavut Training Program and also known as NS. When we were going back home for the holidays this past Christmas, we were given a photo from the Library and Archives Canada and we had a chance to interview some elders in Pang and wherever we're from. Like, I'm from Pang and they're from other communities as well, and my experience with the elders was really good. It gave me a chance to talk to my grandpa that I never really talked to, like, personally, to talk about the past and it's a really good opportunity to talk about and learn new things about what they used to do and how their lifestyle was back then. And this picture that I picked is, was taken in Pangnirtung and one of the elders that we interviewed was… said that all women back then all wore these [amotiks] that… what they're wearing, and they were all… always made in the colour white, and today only women with babies wear them and back then all women used to wear them. And that, I found that really interesting and made me wonder why all women aren't wearing these outfits anymore. But Project Naming is a great experience and if you, like, want to learn about your own culture and learn about what they've gone through, like, what the elders have gone through, it's a great way to interact, communicate with the elders and when they're looking through the pictures, they, I guess it brings back a lot of memories from when they growing up and what they did. So, I really like the Project Naming that the NS program provides us. Thank you.


Elizabeth Ryan: Hey, guys, I'm Elizabeth. I'm taking the NS program, too, with Nancy and Natasha. This is the picture I chose to talk about because sitting down with the elders I, it was really interesting to listen to what they remembered, and one of the elders, [32:21 Inuktitut word], who we interviewed identified herself in this picture. She's the one facing that way on the… to my right, there. She was I think in her early 20's or late teens in this picture, and she, you could see the man there who's from the ship, the whaling ship. She said that he's doing a magic trick in there and that everyone really thought that he was a shaman or a magician, so it was really fun talking to the elders and learning about what my community was like back then, so it was a really good experience. I had a lot of fun learning about what they… how they lived and what they, what the community was like, itself, because there were only about, in some pictures, there were only about three buildings. It was the church, the missionary's house, the cop's house. Yeah, it was a really good experience. I enjoyed it a lot and, yeah.


Natasha Mablik: I am attending Nunavut Sivuniksavut. I'm going to follow the English script I have. I'm from Pond Inlet. I'm, as Elizabeth said, taking the NS program here in Ottawa. The picture I chose to talk about is a picture of a man looking through maybe a telescope, looking for seals to hunt. This man has been identified as [35:17 Idlout], and he was a well-known man in the Pond Inlet area. This picture of [35:31 Idlout] raised many, many discussions I had with the elders, because he was the first Inuk man to have a white man follow him around with a camera, and so there's series of photos of him either doing, like, on a dog team or out hunting and stuff like that. Not only was he the first man to have a white man follow him around with a camera, but he was also the first man to own a rifle in the area, so he was a pretty popular man. (laughter) He was a well-known hunter and a trader. He had a gun so he was catching a lot. When I received the photos, I wasn't really sure what to expect. I didn't know what kind of discussions I would be having with the elders, but when I was flying home I was thinking about it. I didn't know who to talk to or I didn't know who to approach, but when I sat down with the elders, I didn't even need to say anything. The pictures were the ones… when the elders would look at the pictures, they automatically knew what to say because either they were recognizing… recognizing themselves, recognizing family members or remembering stories that were from the past. Many of the stories were, like, it was really great for me to have the discussions with the elders because I was getting a visual image of the stories that my grandparents either told me or stories I heard from my mother, and a lot of the stories, I mean a lot of the pictures brought some emotional stories because some of the elders from Pond Inlet were in these pictures, but the pictures also brought up a lot of laughter and the discussions led onto other topics, such as hunting, comparing hunting then and now and what the differences were. So it was a learning experience for me, and I'm, I appreciate that I had the opportunity to take part in this project.


Gisèle Jacob: Thank you very much. I see that this project has benefit that goes beyond just identifying individuals in photographs. It goes way beyond that, for many generations of people also. Congratulations. It's a great project. Yes. (Applause). So, now we are going to bring our afternoon session to an end, and we're very pleased, thank you, and we're very pleased to invite everybody to enjoy traditional food from Nunavut, a presentation of throat singing and drumming from the students of Nunavut Sivuniksavut in the foyer. Is that the NS you were referring to earlier? NS? Students of NS in the foyer, some throat singing and drumming. Also, in exhibition room A, the Carleton University Alumni Association is presenting A Vision of Canada from the North, a talk by the first premiere of Nunavut, whom we met this morning, Paul Okalik, and that event runs from 6:30 to 7:30. (39:46 inaudible) At 7:30 pm we're back here and we'll have a very interesting session called Nunavut Ten Years Later: Successes, Challenges and Problems and What's Next. The panel from that session, for that session, includes some prominent and insightful voices. You won't want to miss this panel discussion. So, please enjoy the food, the presentation and, hopefully, we'll all see you back here at 7:30. Thank you.