Academic hopes to reunite photos and carvings with Inuit community

None of the photos have names, one simply says ‘wedding dress’


Academic Valerie Henitiuk and her husband became curious about Inuit art at auctions in the U.K.

The vice-president Academic and Provost at Concordia University of Edmonton said it was strange for her to see familiar items so far from home.

“I think it’s important that artifacts not be divorced from their context, from where they belong, and where they have meaning,” Henitiuk told APTN.

“Too many items, both text and artifacts and photos, were taken from community and I think it’s really important to connect back to community.”

Now Henitiuk is hoping to reunite some special photos that she found and purchased at an auction with the descendants of those pictured.

The photos include three group shots and one of a single woman.

There are no names on the photos – on the back of the pictured woman, an inscription on the back simply reads, Wedding Dress.

The lot is associated with a person named John Goleby who Henitiuk believes could have been a Moravian missionary based in Hopedale on the Labrador Coast within Nunatsiavut, around 1905 or 1906.

A number of small carvings are included in the lot, which Henitiuk believes, may have a more regional significance. She is hoping they could be returned to their community and possibly placed in a cultural centre.

Anyone with information about the photos or carvings can reach out by searching Valerie Henitiuk on Facebook and sending a message there.

Allana is a graduate of the Indigenous Studies program at Trent University and the new media journalism program at Sheridan College. She worked at Sudbury.com and TVO before coming to APTN National News where she now covers Indigenous stories in Southern Ontario as a video journalist. McDougall is a member of Hiawatha First Nation.