Inuit Oral History and Project Naming
"Our names - Atiqput - are very meaningful. They are our identification. They are our Spirits. We are named after what's in the sky for strength, what's in the water ... the land, body parts. Every name is attached to every part of our body and mind. Yes, every name is alive. Every name has a meaning. Much of our names have been misspelled and many of them have lost their meanings forever. Our Project Naming has been about identifying Inuit, who became nameless over the years, just "unidentified eskimos ..." With Project Naming, we have put Inuit meanings back in the pictures, back to life." Piita Irniq For over two decades, Inuit collaborators living across Inuit Nunangat and in the South have returned names to hundreds of previously anonymous Inuit seen in historical photographs held by Library and Archives Canada as part of Project Naming. This innovative photo-based history research initiative was established by the Inuit school Nunavut Sivuniksavut and the national archive. Atiqput celebrates Inuit naming practices and through them honours Inuit culture, history, and storytelling. Narratives by Inuit elders, including Sally Kate Webster, Piita Irniq, Manitok Thompson, Ann Meekitjuk Hanson, and David Serkoak, form the heart of the book, as they reflect on naming traditions and the intergenerational conversations spurred by the photographic archive. Other contributions present scholarly insights and research projects that extend Project Naming's methodology, interspersed with pictorial essays by the artist Barry Pottle and the filmmaker Asinnajaq. Through oral testimony and photography, Atiqput rewrites the historical record created by settler societies and challenges a legacy of colonial visualization.
History / Canada / Post-Confederation Photography / History Photography / Subjects & Themes / Regional
About this Author
Carol Payne is professor of art history and associate dean in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at Carleton University, the author of The Official Picture: The National Film Board of Canada's Still Photography Division and the Image of Canada, 1941-1971, and co-editor of The Cultural Work of Photography in Canada. Beth Greenhorn is senior project manager for Library and Archives Canada and managed Project Naming from 2003 to 2017. Deborah Kigjugalik Webster is an Inuit heritage researcher and author. Christina Williamson is a research associate for the Métis Archival Project at the Faculty of Native Studies, University of Alberta.
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