Research for Project Naming began in spring 2001 when a selection of photographs by Richard Harrington in the collections of Library and Archives Canada (LAC) was chosen for digitization. By October of that year, the first group of images was scanned, copied onto CD-ROM and made ready to be taken to Nunavut for identification by Elders.
Photo of fieldworker Sheba Awa showing photographs to Elder Eugen Ipkangnak,
Igloolik (formerly Iglulik)
Courtesy of Nunavut Sivuniksavut Training Program
The process of identification involved large public gatherings, as well as individual visits by youth to Elders' homes. One community-based event took place in Arviat (formerly Eskimo Point) in February 2003, during which photographs were projected onto a big screen in the community centre. When the faces of the people in the photographs were recognized, members of the community called out the individuals' names. In other cases, youth went door-to-door visiting Elders. Sheba Awa was one such participant, who visited many Elders living in Igloolik (Iglulik) during the winter of 2001 to 2002.
Students studying at the Nunavut Sivuniksavut Training Program (NSTP) in Ottawa also participated in the identification of photographs for Project Naming. One student, Mathewsie Ashevak, described the rewards of his experience in Cape Dorset (Kinngait) in December 2003, when he had the opportunity to meet with three Elders: Kenojuak Ashevak, Pauta Saila and Petalusie Saila. For Mathewsie Ashevak, the most memorable aspects of meeting with the Elders was learning about their past way of life and listening to the memories and stories rekindled by the photographs.