Project Naming

Library and Archives Canada (LAC) has photographs of First Nations, Inuit and Métis Nation Peoples that have never been identified. We need your help to identify people, places and activities depicted in these images.

On this page

About Project Naming

Project Naming is a photograph identification and community engagement initiative. In 2002, it began as a partnership between:

  • Nunavut Sivuniksavut (NS), a college for Inuit based in Ottawa
  • the Government of Nunavut
  • Library and Archives Canada

The project started with the digitization of about 500 photos. They included images taken in Iglulik, Gjoa Haven, Kugluktuk and former community, Padlei between 1949 and 1950. In 2002, NS students brought the images back to these communities, sharing them with their Elders and family members. After identifying three-quarters of the photographs, digitization expanded to communities from across Nunavut. They gathered names of hundreds of Nunavummiut through a variety of methods such as:

  • community outreach
  • the Naming Continues online form
  • “Do You Know Your Elders?”, a weekly photo feature in Nunavut News/North
  • on-site visits to LAC
  • social media

Since its beginnings, Project Naming has evolved into a national initiative. In 2015, the project expanded to include photographs depicting:

  • First Nations
  • Métis Nation
  • Inuit Nunangat, the homeland of Inuit in Canada (Inuvialuit Settlement Region, Nunavut, Nunavik and Nunatsiavut)

Historical language

Many photographic records held at LAC use updated names and terminology. Some remain with outdated, incorrect or inappropriate historical language. You may need to use historical or anglicized names in your search.

LAC is working to update records with language that is accurate and respectful. If you have information about a person, community or activity in a photograph:

Identify Indigenous individuals, places and activities

  1. Go to Collections Search and click on Advanced search
  2. Type a search term using current or historical names of communities or groups for example:
    •  "Iqaluit", " and/or Frobisher Bay"
    • "Siksika" and/or "Blackfoot"

    Note: Try searching by historic and contemporary names.

  3. In the side bar,
    1. click on Archives under Search in
    2. click on Only under Available online
  4. Click Enter or Search near the bottom of the page
  5. When the results list opens, scroll down the left hand menus to Type of material, and click Photographs
  6. The page will now display the photographs in Archives, available online, that are tagged with your keywords
  7. If you have information to add to a digitized image, click Contribute at the bottom of the screen and follow the steps.


LAC Podcast episodes

LAC Discover Blog articles

Learn more about the history of Project Naming

Connect with Project Naming

If you have any questions or need help, please reach out to LAC at: