Title and statement of responsibility area
Northwest Territories. Department of Culture and Communications fonds
General material designation
- Textual record
- Multiple media
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Title statements of responsibility
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Edition statement of responsibility
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Statement of scale (architectural)
Issuing jurisdiction and denomination (philatelic)
Dates of creation area
[1951?-1990], 1977-1994 (Creation)
- Northwest Territories. Department of Culture and Communications (1985-1992)
Physical description area
ca. 73,344 photographs and other material
ca. 8 metres
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Archival description area
Name of creator
The Department of Culture and Communications formed in 1985 with the reorganization of the former Department of Information and the addition of the Museums and Heritage Division and Public Library Services, which were transferred from the former Department of Justice and Public Services.
The Department of Culture and Communications was responsible for preserving, promoting and developing northern culture, improving broadcast communications and availability of information, as well as, strengthening national and international understanding of the Northwest Territories. The department provided printing, graphic design, publishing, audio-visual and language services, such as interpreting and translating to the Government of the Northwest Territories. It delivered public programs such as library services, museum services, a cultural affairs program and offered grants in support of cultural activities through various divisions. The department assisted in providing radio and television services to communities and supported regional native communications societies that delivered culturally relevant radio and television programming to the north.
The Directorate Division operated between 1986-1992. It was responsible for the management of the department, development of policies, the direction of public affairs and provided administrative and financial services. It also advised the Executive Council on public relations matters.
The Public Affairs Division operated between 1986-1989 and was responsible for Government of the Northwest Territories public affairs programming, assisting clients in communications programs and providing services to the public through news releases.
The Publications and Production Division was responsible for meeting the graphic design and the publishing needs of the Government of the Northwest Territories through in-house or commercial activities. The division printed and produced a variety of publications including annual reports, the Northwest Territories Gazette, legislation, newsletters and booklets on various government programs and services. The responsibilities of Publication and Production included audio-visual services such as the production and distribution of video programs about the government in native languages. This division was transferred to Government Services and Public Works in August 1992.
The Language Bureau provided interpretation, translation and other communications services to the Government of the Northwest Territories and the Legislative Assembly in all official languages of the Northwest Territories, except Cree. This division included both an aboriginal language and French language section.
The Museums/Heritage Division transferred to Culture and Communications from the Department of Justice and Public Services in 1986. The Museums/Heritage activity was responsible for collecting, preserving, researching, documenting and presenting the cultural and natural history of the Northwest Territories. This function was achieved through museum and archival programs at the Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre and the Northwest Territories Archives, as well as through the provision of advice, technical support and financial contributions supporting community heritage projects. Other territorial programs administered by the activity included archaeological resource management and geographic name research program that had been transferred from the Executive Department into the Museum Division in 1986.
Library Services were also transferred to Culture and Communications from the Department of Justice and Public Services in 1986. The Library Services division provided some financial assistance to community libraries and maintained the government library, which collected Federal and Territorial Publications, reference material and books in the area of public policy. A grants and contributions program, delivered through Library Services provided funding to municipal councils for the operation of library programs, as well as the training of local staff thorough regional and distance education courses. The Government Library was transferred to the Legislative Assembly in 1992 when Public Library Services became part of the Department of Education, Culture and Employment.
The Cultural Affairs Division operated between 1986-1989; this division supported, promoted and enhanced cultural diversity and the arts in the Northwest Territories. This task was accomplished through the distribution of grants and contributions, research, consultation and the development of policy and legislation. Cultural Affairs also provided administrative services and professional advice to the Northwest Territories Arts Council.
The Northern Communications Program was responsible for maintaining satellite receiving and transmitting equipment and providing CBC radio and television services to the communities of the Northwest Territories. This program evolved into the Audiovisual Section in 1989 and then into the Television and Radio Services Division that operated between 1990-91. Responsibilities included researching and developing the options for GNWT membership in Television Northern Canada (TVNC), which began broadcasting in 1992, as well as the handling of video/film production and distribution needs of the GNWT. This division also provided contributions to community broadcasting societies and regional native communications societies to support the production and broadcast of culturally relevant radio and TV programming in aboriginal languages. The division contributed to the three major regional aboriginal communications groups; Inuit Broadcasting Company, Native Communications Society of the Western Arctic and Inuvialuit Broadcasting Society. Television and Radio Services was also responsible for the maintenance of television and radio facilities in 27 small communities throughout the Northwest Territories.
In August of 1992, the Department of Culture and Communications was combined with the Department of Education, to form the Department of Education, Culture and Employment.
Scope and content
This fonds consists of approximately 8 meters of textual material, approximately 73,344 black and white and colour photographs in print, negative and slide formats including many duplicates, 224 audiocassettes, 165 audio reels, 5 DAT audiocassettes, 25 16-mm films, 15 videocassettes in Beta, VHS and Helical Scan videotape formats and 4 architectural drawings. The Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre and the Northwest Territories Archives generated the bulk of the textual material. The material consists of transcripts of interviews conducted by the Northwest Territories Archives with Father Louis Menez, Violet Beaulieu and Sven Johansson. Six of the audio reels contain stories that were recorded at the Miner's Mess restaurant as part of the Cultural Festival component of the 1990 Arctic Winter Games held in Yellowknife and feature storytelling by Claire Barnabe, Barb Bromley, Rene Fumoleau, Jim Green, Abe Okpik, Erik Watt, Lorne Scholar, D'Arcy Arden, George Blondin, Neil Colin, Mary Forrest, Pete Fraser, Joe Tobie and Jim Bourque. Other cassettes feature interviews with Ben Sutherland and Laura Loutitt. In addition, there are audiocassettes and English translations of an interview conducted by the Archaeology Section with Slavey Elder George Boots and video cassettes of "Drum Lake-Archaeology", "The Last Mooseskin Boat", and "Where Time Began". There are also records from the Northwest Territories Historical Advisory Board, the Northwest Territories Heritage Council and Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre, including the NWT Arts Council. Included are operational and administrative files from the Archaeological and Historic Sites program, Education and Extension program, Territorial Plaque program, Exhibits program, Museum grants and Northwest Territories Archives. Records from the Culture and Heritage Division (Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre) consist of various administrative records concerning Land Use applications, minutes of various Culture and Heritage Division meetings, program reports, support for community heritage related efforts, promotional pamphlets, archaeology permit requests, museum policy development, and special Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre projects such as Trapline - Lifeline.
Also included are files on various conferences such as the Canadian Conference on Historical Resources, the Northern Museums Conference, and Committees such as the Interdepartmental Committee on Archaeology, the Canada-Northwest Territories Consultative Committee on Parks and the Museum Advisory Committee.
A small portion of the textual records were created by the Language Bureau including a Briefing Note for the Minister about the activities of the Language Bureau, a proposal from an consultant and input from the Language Bureau about an operational review of the division, an evaluation of the Language Bureau and comments on the NWT Literacy Strategy by the staff of the Language Bureau. The remainder of the files include records from the Athapaskan Language Steering Committee, the Dene Languages Committee and internal newsletters that were produced by the Language Bureau called Dene Yati, The Booth, Language Bureau Bulletin and one newsletter called Tusagatsait.
There are approximately 55,724 black and white and colour photographs in print, negative and slide formats that were generated or acquired by the Television and Radio Services Division, Department of Culture and Communications and by the Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre. The collection of photographs from Television and Radio Services document the Government of the Northwest Territories involvement in housing, education and training, arts and crafts, tourism, transportation and industry. There are also images documenting native land use, community activities, special events such as Expo '86 and Arctic Winter Games, public buildings and housing, Commissioners of the Northwest Territories, NWT Council, the Legislative Assembly and Members of the Legislative Assembly. The photographs from the Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre include photographs taken at Pine Point, Fort Resolution and Pangnirtung, as well as photographs created by archaeological and historic site surveys, and photographs of the Aviation Gallery at the Heritage Centre. The 132 audiocassettes, 155 sound reels and 4 DAT audio cassettes consist of recordings that were produced and collected by the Radio and Television Services Division of the Department of Culture and Communications between 1970-1986 and by the Northwest Territories Archives and Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre. The recordings include soundtracks for films, interviews, speeches, special effect sounds, Inuit throat singing and government programs such as the series "Behind Closed Doors-A Series on Spousal Assault in the Northwest Territories" and "So You Want to Start Your Own Business." The 25 16-mm films include copies of "You Can't Grow Potatoes Up There"; "Koukdjuak Crossing: Caribou Tagging on Baffin Island"; "Bathurst Inlet Caribou" (may also be titled: To Have Forever: Hunting the Bathurst Caribou Herd); "Nikko Island", "Wood Bison"; "Kellett's Storehouse"; "Yellowknife"; "Caribou"; "Heritage Centre Spots"; "Kissiutiyeet"; "Gordon Lake"; "Decisions"; "Future"; and "Anik Info Spots" (air prints). The Beta videocassettes contain videos produced by the Language Bureau of the Department of Culture and Communications. The films are entitled "MLA," "Home Maintenance-Northwest Territories Housing Corporation," "Home Maintenance-Canadian Mortgage Housing Corporation" and "How the Fur Trade Works" which is in South Slavey. The two helical scan videos consist of a Keewatin Economic Development Conference and the film "Hire North." Another Betamax cassette is of "Rivers of Faith" documenting Pope John Paul II's visit to Fort Simpson in 1987. The architectural drawings were generated by a project through the Northwest Territories Archives in which the old Catholic Mission building in Fort Resolution was documented.
Also contained in this fonds are materials dating from 1986-1991 including 3 Baffin Bulletin newsletters, 2 spousal assault newsletters, a report on spousal abuse, a report on the traditional knowledge working group, a directory guide of Northern cultural and arts performers from approximately 1990, and various press releases.
Language of material
Script of material
Language and script note
Inuktitut, Inuvialuktun (G-1992-044); South Slavey (G-1992-016 and G-1999-077); Dene, Inuktitut (G-1992-007); Tlicho, Slavay, Inuvialuktun, Gwich'in (G-2002-017)
Location of originals
Availability of other formats
Restrictions on access
Access restricted under the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act.
Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication
Finding aids in various formats available; see accessions for details.
ca. 55,727 photographs : b&w., col; prints, slides and negatives; 165 audio reels; 25 film reels: 16 mm; 15 videocassettes : Beta, Helical scan; ca. 7.7 meters of textual material; 224 audio cassettes; 4 sound CDs; 4 architectual drawings and 5 DAT audio cassettes. Some material may have been duplicated; see accession files for details.
Copyright held by GNWT.