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Project Naming

Today on twitter I wound up in a short conversation with Inuksuk McKay, an #Inuk in #Yellowknife who was hosting @indigenousXca (they have different people hosting the spot). She tweeted about Project Naming, a project launched in the early 2000s to give names to some of the thousands of "unidentified Eskimos" whose images haunt the collections at Library and Archives Canada (needless to say the colonizers are exquisitely identified). Quelle project! 1000s of photos. 100s of faces. Missing names. Connecting #elders and the young in undoing this erasure.

I have just finished reading Chris Arnett’s The Terror of the Coast, an account of how the burgeoning military-colonial pre-Confederation state hunted down “murderers” when some members of the #Cowichan tribes sometimes resisted the occupation of their lands. Arnett uses newspapers and govt docs in his history, and the names of the protagonists are always wrong - misheard, misspelled, misidentified. A number of the Cowichan were hanged publicly in genteel Victoria for murders they didn’t commit. Incorrectly named natives were hanged for the murders of unnamed settlers. Names matter.

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