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News Release

What's New

Library and Archives Canada launches Web product featuring Canada's Inuit people

Ottawa, October 8, 2004 - Today, Library and Archives Canada is launching the trilingual Web product Project Naming at in English, French and Inuktitut.

Project Naming is a Web site and searchable database containing evocative images from the photographic collections of Library and Archives Canada. The people in these images from Canada's Nunavut region have recently been identified, and their stories have been rediscovered. In addition, the site explores the history, language and culture of the Inuit people portrayed.

Research for Project Naming began in 2001 with the selection and scanning of photographs. The next stage involved youth travelling across Nunavut showing Elders these photographs on laptop computers. The people in the images were then "named" by the Elders and the new information was added to the Library and Archives Canada photographic database. Through Project Naming, hundreds of Nunavut residents who were photographed between the 1920s and the 1950s have been identified.

For many Elders, viewing the Project Naming photographs was their first time seeing images of certain family members. For the youth, it offered the chance of seeing a photograph of a deceased relative, and of learning about their past. The "naming" of the people in these photographs is time sensitive; today's Elders may be the last people left to identify these individuals, whose names might otherwise remain lost forever.

Project Naming connects Inuit youth with Elders and bridges the cultural differences and geographic distances between Nunavut and the more southern parts of Canada. It is an ongoing initiative and through continued research, its goal is to identify all those in the database photographs.

"This Web product is the culmination of several years of collaboration among the Inuit people, the Nunavut Sivuniksavut, the Government of Nunavut and Library and Archives Canada. Canadians are fortunate to have this valuable resource. A big thanks must go out to the people of Nunavut for their dedication and participation throughout this project," said Ian E. Wilson, Librarian and Archivist of Canada.

The Honourable Peter Irnik, Commissioner of Nunavut stated, "It has been rewarding for our youth to connect with our Elders in this new way. By adding names to the photographs of our ancestors, our people have also been able to reclaim their past."

This initiative is the result of a collaboration between Library and Archives Canada, the Nunavut Sivuniksavut Training Program in Ottawa and the Government of Nunavut Department of Culture, Language, Elders and Youth (CLEY). Funding for Project Naming was provided by CLEY. Funding for the Web site was made available through the Memory Fund of the Canadian Culture Online Program, Department of Canadian Heritage.

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For more information:
Louisa Coates
Media Relations, Library and Archives Canada
Telephone: 613-992-9361 / cell: 613-295-5516

For historical information visit: Archived What's New