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Nanisiniq: Arviat History Project - budding Inuit scholars come to Library and Archives Canada for a visit

Photograph of the Nanisiniq: Arviat History Project visitors and research team during their visit at Library and Archives Canada, May 2011

Back row, left to right: April Dutheil (research assistant, UBC), Patrick Pingushat (Arviat), Beth Greenhorn (project manager, LAC), Professor Paule McNicoll (UBC), Jean-Marie Beaulieu (information officer, Canadian Polar Commission), Anne Weiler (nurse), Bud Neville (social worker), Professor Frank James Tester (UBC), Elder Peter Irniq (former Commissioner of Nunavut).

Front row, left to right: Amy Owingayak, Elder Martha Okotak, Jordan Konek and Curtis Kuunuaq Konek, all from Arviat.

In early May 2011, Library and Archives Canada (LAC) welcomed members of the Nanisiniq: Arviat History Project for a visit over three days during their stay in Canada's capital region. Among other activities, the group of young scholars searched through hundreds of archival images to assist with Project Naming, a photo identification and community engagement project involving Inuit youth and elders. The group included four young Inuit and an elder from the community of Arviat, Nunavut, as well as two faculty members and a research assistant from the University of British Columbia (UBC). The project, led by Professor Frank Tester from UBC, was awarded a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council grant in 2009.

The students' efforts were not in vain, as each Inuit researcher recognized pictures of their respective family members during their visit at LAC, including a photograph (from the 1930s) of Alariaq with his wife Pittau (PA-196445), identified by their great-granddaughter, Amy Owingayak. This material will soon be digitized and made available through Project Naming. Once all of the photos are fully digitized, the Inuit youth will organize photo identification gatherings in Arviat to help with the identification of as many people as possible. The names and other anecdotal information they gather will be added to LAC's database and made available to Canadians.

For more information about the visit, please click on the following link and scroll down the menu on the right-hand side to view the video titled "Inuit Research": http://bcove.me/cc3bssoe. The video, provided by Aboriginal Peoples Television Network (APTN), is only available in English.