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Book of historic Yukon First Nations photos back in print, 40 years later

'It had a big impact, that book,' says author Jim Robb

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When Jim Robb first conceived the idea for Their Own Yukon, more than four decades ago, it was a novel concept — a historic Yukon photo book not about Klondike stampeders, but about the First Nations people whose roots in the territory are far, far deeper.

"That's the whole thing — it's their history," said Robb, happily showing off a new edition of the long out-of-print book.

"I was starting to get into photography [at the time] and I just thought, boy, with all this material, it would be really interesting to do a book about First Nations."

Together with Julie Cruikshank, he collected photos from First Nations people and also selected some of his own. They also tried to find out as much information as they could about the pictures, to include in the book as well.

"A lot of amazing stuff came out," Robb said. "It had a big impact, that book."

Jim Robb

'It had a big impact, that book,' said Jim Robb about 'Their Own History', a book first published in 1975. (Philippe Morin/CBC)

The Council of Yukon First Nations gave permission and assistance to re-print the book, and Robb thinks the new edition is a big improvement.

"[The original] was offset printing and it wasn't too clear. Now with the photography digital and all that, it's a much sharper version."

Robb also thinks it's time for a second volume, but not put together by him. He'd love to see some young First Nations photographers use his book as inspiration for something new.

"There's lots of talent here ... now's the time to put their own version out."

Their Own History will be available soon at Yukon bookstores.

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