The Names and Knowledge Initiative

Discovering Indigenous people, places and knowledge
in the Hudson's Bay Company Archives

Do you recognize the people in these photographs?

photo of Inuk boy
HBCA 1987/363-E-110/36
Unidentified Inuk boy in hooded fur coat. [ca. 1940]. Photographer: [Dr. Sutton?].
photo of smiling Ink child sitting on a rock
HBCA 1987/363-E-110/43
Unidentified Inuk child, Cambridge Bay. 1954. Photographer: Don Blair.
photo of smiling Inuk man with another Inuk man in background
HBCA 1987/363-E-230/17
Unidentified Inuit men standing outside post building. Man in foreground is smiling. [193-?]. Photographer: [Harvey Bassett?].
photo of young girl with a baby in a sling on her back
HBCA 1987/363-E-240/69
“A foster mother from Chesterfield [Inlet], only 12, but always accompanied by baby sister who rides on her back.” 1939. Photographer: Dr. R. L. Sutton.

There are many unidentified Inuit people in photographs at the Hudson’s Bay Company Archives. If you recognize family, friends, or community places in a photograph, we invite you to share this knowledge with us. We will add the names to the photograph captions, for everyone who views the records to see. With your permission, we will include your own name as the source of the knowledge.

Digital images of Inuit communities from the Hudson’s Bay Company Archives (HBCA) are available online through the Archives of Manitoba’s Keystone Archives Descriptive Database. These photographs prominently feature Inuit individuals and families as well as HBC post buildings, employees and activities from communities across the North. HBCA also holds post journals, letters, maps, account books, art and film in which Inuit people, place names and ways of living are recorded, many of which are also described in the database.

Please visit Keystone to search the database for photographs of Inuit communities by typing “Inuit” in the keyword search and click “Digital copies”.

Examples of photographs that community members have identified through this initiative:

photo of three girls
HBCA 1987/363-E-210/12
“Little Lily Swaffield and two of her native friends.” [Left and middle: Ayowna Emiktowt and Hattie Alagalak] 1956. Photographer: O.J. Gromme. Names in square brackets provided by Jackie Netser of Coral Harbour.
Photograph of Susan Sammourk
HBCA 1987/363-E-240/9
Susan Sammourk. Chesterfield Inlet, [194-?]. Photographer: Mgr. Albert Tessier. Name provided by a member of the Rankin Inlet community.
Photo of three men in a mine.
HBCA 1987/363-E-420/8
Left to right: Igviksak, Dennis Kulaserk, Alphonse Naukatsik. Names provided by members of the Rankin Inlet community.
Photo of two girls.
HBCA 1987/363-E-210/59
“Eastern Arctic: Southampton Island – Post manager’s daughter and Eskimo girl [Marguerite Nakoolak].” 1953. Photographer: Don Blair. Name in square brackets was provided by Tommy Bruce of Coral Harbour.

Please contact us at hbca@gov.mb.ca or call 204-945-4649 to find out more information about what records are available for your town, hamlet or region and how we can make them accessible to members of your community.