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Canada awards contract to explore 1845 Franklin Expedition Inuit Oral History Project

Catherine McKenna, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for Parks Canada, and the Franklin Interim Advisory Committee are pleased to announce that – following a competitive process – a contract has been awarded to gather Inuit oral histories surrounding the 1845 Franklin Expedition.


Government Press Release 13 Jun 2018, 07:58 PM Canada
  • The contract was awarded to Know History and its partners, NVision Insight Group Inc. and Konek Productions. (Image Credit: Wikimedia)

The locations of the Franklin Expedition vessels were a mystery for over 150 years, after Sir John Franklin and his crew went missing while searching for a Northwest Passage. Over time, Inuit traditional knowledge (Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit) combined with modern technology, led to the discovery of the wreck sites of HMS Erebus and HMS Terror. Now, over 150 years since the vessels settled on the ocean floor, there is still much to learn from the story of these shipwrecks.

Today, Catherine McKenna, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for Parks Canada, and the Franklin Interim Advisory Committee are pleased to announce that – following a competitive process – a contract has been awarded to gather Inuit oral histories surrounding the 1845 Franklin Expedition.

The contract was awarded to Know History and its partners, NVision Insight Group Inc. and Konek Productions,

The Franklin Expedition Inuit Oral History Project will increase awareness of the contributions of Inuit to the discovery of the wrecks of HMS Erebus and HMS Terror, and further document Inuit interactions with Sir John Franklin and his crew. Inuit will be key participants in the planning and delivery of this project, which will include Inuit youth and elders.

Material shared by Inuit knowledge holders through this project will be included in a book, and will also contribute to content for future exhibits at the Nattillik Heritage Centre in Gjoa Haven and on Parks Canada’s and the Kitikmeot Inuit Association’s websites. Other research materials such as video, audio recordings, interview transcripts and the book manuscript, will be shared by Inuit and Parks Canada through the exhibits at the Nattillik Heritage Centre and the websites.

Know History will be assisted by the former Commissioner of Nunavut, Edna Elias, who will serve as the team’s lead interviewer and translator. Know History and its partners will work closely with the Nattilik Heritage Centre in Gjoa Haven, the Franklin Interim Advisory Committee, and Parks Canada throughout the project’s duration. The project’s proposed completion date is December 2019.

Parks Canada is also working with the Franklin Interim Advisory Committee to develop an Inuit Guardians Program for the two vessels. Guardians will be posted at both wreck sites throughout the open-water period to monitor the sites, report any unauthorized vessel traffic, and help Parks Canada ensure the protection of HMS Erebus and HMS Terror.

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