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New Chapter in LAC's Project Naming

Published on July 7, 2015

Aboriginal cultural heritage

Every picture tells a story! Spurred by the success of the first phase of the photo identification project with Inuit communities from Nunavut, Library and Archives Canada (LAC) is now expanding the project to all Aboriginal groups in Canada.

This new chapter of Project Naming is a unique opportunity to contribute to the description and stewardship of Aboriginal cultural heritage and archival records.

First Nations, Métis and Inuit communities as well as all Canadians are invited to recall their memories, share their knowledge and engage in the identification of thousands of photographs from LAC’s collection. The majority of individuals depicted in the images were never identified and many archival descriptions relating to events or activities are absent or have dated information (e.g. place and band names).

Quick Facts

  • As with the first phase of Project Naming, LAC hopes that members of the public will participate by sharing their knowledge. Over the last 13 years, approximately 8,000 images have been digitized and nearly 2,000 Inuit individuals, activities and places have been identified.
  • Information provided by different generations of Inuit and non-Inuit persons has been added to the records in LAC’s database and made available to the public.


Project Naming, as well as measures announced in Budget 2015, are supporting the Government’s efforts to encourage an even greater participation of Aboriginal people in Canada’s political, social, cultural and economic life. As a Métis person myself, I understand the importance for Aboriginal communities to fully know where we come from and to preserve our rich cultural heritage. I invite not only Aboriginal people, but all Canadians, to share their knowledge and contribute to this great initiative.”

- The Honourable Shelly Glover
Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages

Project Naming relies on a unique collaboration between the public and a memory institution like ours. Not only does the public’s contribution enrich our photo collection at LAC, but past experience shows that such initiatives will trigger a dialogue between older and younger Aboriginal generations and help them to connect with their past.”

- Dr. Guy Berthiaume
Librarian and Archivist of Canada, Library and Archives Canada

“I felt a sense of satisfaction in identifying unnamed individuals in photographs and providing names to replace captions provided by the photographer. Often photo captions were simply described with “Group of Eskimos” or “Native woman.” In a sense, when we help identify the pictures we are reclaiming our heritage.”

- Deborah Webster, an Inuit woman from Baker Lake, in Nunavut, who participated actively in the first phase of Project Naming and happily discovered, with the help of her mother, photographs of relatives and community members.

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