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Memories of residential schools: Inuvialuit seek names for photo archive

soundslide-icrc-190.jpgThere are thousands of photos at Inuvik's Inuvialuit Cultural Resource Centre. The small library and museum has collected artifacts over the years, documenting the life of Inuvialuit people in the western arctic.

Cathy Cockney is the curator. She's been encouraging local people to flip through a collection of photos and recognize people.

The project is proving successful: Cockney says about half the people featured have been recognized.

The centre's latest major collection is the photograph library of  Sherman Shepherd. In 1929 he arrived at Shingle Point to build a school and mission for the Anglican Church. In 1936, Shepherd's family moved to Aklavik where he became principal of the All Saints school and Canon of the All Saints Cathedral.

Photography was a hobby for Shepherd and also Shingle Point's Matron in Residence, Marguerite Latham. Together, they developed more than 1,200 photos of daily life in the residential school system.

Between 2004 and 2004, the Shepherd family loaned the original photos to the Inuvialuit Cultural Resource Centre. The photos were scanned and are now on display, waiting for anyone to recognize relatives.

Cockney says she hopes more former students will be recognized, as Inuvik welcomes more than 1000 people for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's national event. The gathering of former students of Canada's residential school system starts on June 28.