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.
Henry "Hank" Koenen owned and operated Koenen's Air Service Ltd. from about 1949 to 1975. In 1960, there was a suggestion that he was considering selling Koenen's Air Service to Ken Stockall (one of his pilots), but the deal didn't go ahead. Another opportunity for sale arose in 1961, but again, the deal did not go ahead.
Koenen's Air Service provided charter services to places all over the Northwest Territories and a few outside, including Fort Simpson, Lac La Martre (Whati), Snowdrift (Lutselk'e), Fort Reliance, Fort Rae (Behchoko), Fort Norman (Tulita), Fort Good Hope, Fort Resolution , Trout Lake, Fort Providence, Thelon River, Rocher River, Fort Liard, Nahanni Butte, Fort Smith, Fort Franklin (Deline), Norman Wells, Jean Marie River, Pine Point, Coppermine (Kugluktuk), Athabasca, Lake Athabasca, Uranium City,and many small lakes, islands, and camps. Several planes were used by the business over the years, including CF-MFY Champion, CF-IYU Cessna, CF-HCQ Stinson, CF-HBL Cessna, and CF-EPP Cessna, among others. Several pilots, besides Hank Koenen, flew for Koenen's Air Service throughout its history, including: Bud Morceau, D. McKay, Keith Silvester, Ernie Boffa, Maurice Lynn, T. McCluny, Wolfgang Poepperl, Jim McAvoy, Ken Stockall, Kenneth Gordon Hornby, some of whom went on to found their own charter services.
Hank Koenen stops appearing the in Yellowknife telephone directory in 1963, although he reputedly remained in Yellowknife until the mid-1970s. Koenen's Air Service disappears from the directory in 1963, but reappears in 1964. Hank Koenen retired to Edmonton, selling Koenen's Air Service to Trevor Burroughs in the 1970s.
Trevor Burroughs appears to have operated Koenen's Air Service Limited in Yellowknife until about 1985, although it remained a federal corporation until 1995, when it was dissolved for non-compliance.
The Department of Natural and Cultural Affairs formed in 1975, as part of a general reorganization of the Government of the Northwest Territories. Functions relating to northern culture and the traditional way of life were brought together to create this department. Included in Department of Natural Cultural Affairs was the Fish and Wildlife Service that transferred from the Department of Economic Development; Recreation and Library Services that transferred from the Department of Local Government; and the Museum and Historical Programs that transferred from the Executive Secretariat.
The Department of Natural and Cultural Affairs was responsible for assisting residents in the Northwest Territories in pursuit of their culture, traditions, lifestyles and providing for the preservation of their way of life and the traditional pursuits of trapping and hunting through an effective game management program. The department managed the wildlife resources of the Northwest Territories and assisted people who were dependent on these resources to harvest wildlife in a way that would ensure continued availability of the resources. It also provided advice and financial and technical assistance to communities, sports organizations and cultural groups in the development and implementation of sports, recreation and cultural activities. A central library service and the development and operation of the Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre were also functions fulfilled by the Department of Natural and Cultural Affairs.
The Fish and Wildlife Service included the following programs: Big Game Management, Fisheries Development, Trapline Management and Environmental Management. This division was responsible for managing the wildlife resources of the Northwest Territories, as well as providing opportunities for northern people to pursue traditional hunting, trapping and fishing. Through these programs, management studies were conducted on caribou, polar bear, grizzly bear and bison in order to determine population levels. The Fish and Wildlife Service also assisted communities in harvesting caribou as a food source. The Fisheries Development program was concerned with the promotion and development of commercial fisheries and monitoring the harvesting of fish to ensure that the species was not exploited. The Trapline Management program emphasized training of young trappers through courses conducted by Fish and Wildlife officers and experienced trappers who taught trapping techniques, fur handling and marketing, bush living, survival skills, equipment care and preservation of game and fish. This program also operated a fur marketing service that allowed trappers to ship furs directly to auction houses in order to gain a higher financial return and worked closely with the Hunters and Trappers Association. The increased incidence of exploration and development in the north fostered a larger role for the Fish and Wildlife Service in environmental management. The Environmental Management program conducted environmental assessments in order to determine the impact development had on wildlife and to make recommendations to minimize the impact. In early 1976, responsibility for administering the Outpost Camp Program was turned over to the Fish and Wildlife Service and funding made available to implement the program throughout the territories. This program provided financial assistance to groups who wished to move back to the land and live off the natural resources available by hunting and trapping. Transportation costs, building materials, heating fuel and loans for food and supplies were made available through this program. It was hoped that eventually many of the outpost camps would become completely self-sufficient and would require minimum financial assistance. The Fish and Wildlife Service changed its name to the Wildlife Service in 1978. Its focus was the transferal of the administrative aspect of the resource harvesting assistance programs to the communities. In 1978, the first step taken in decentralizing the responsibility of the administration of trapper's incentive grants, trapper's assistance, community hunts, the fur marketing service and the outpost camp program to the regions. In some regions, the Hunters and Trappers Associations began to administer community hunts, the outpost camp program and trappers assistance programs. Wildlife Services continued to promote wildlife management by providing education programs and career opportunities and encouraged the conservation of local habitat through wildlife management studies.
The Recreation Division focused on encouraging local involvement at the community level in recreational activities and assisted recreation committees in planning and developing local recreation programs. The division offered leadership training in order to facilitate local involvement and was involved in offering territorial wide clinics in a variety of sports. A major activity was the organization of the participation of the Northwest Territories in the Canada Winter Games, Arctic Winter Games and Northern Games. The division participated in the Montreal Olympics in 1976, by sending Inuit and aboriginal performers to demonstrate cultural games and activities. It also assisted in the organization of Federation Sport North that supported the development of sport activities on a Territorial-wide basis and was involved in selecting the teams and athletes that would represent the Northwest Territories at the Canada Games and Arctic Winter Games. The Recreation Division was also responsible for developing and implementing the Portable Pool Swimming Program and introducing the National Coaching Development Program. In 1979-80, the Recreation Division was renamed Recreation and Cultural Programs in order to include cultural organizations, which were supported by the division through grants and financial assistance. This assistance was provided to aboriginal groups in order to encourage participation in cross-cultural recreation activities, such as Treaty Days Celebrations, and to demonstrate northern native cultural activities through cultural exchanges.
Library Services transferred from the Department of Local Government to the Department of Natural and Cultural Affairs in 1975. This service continued to implement its programs and to develop library services throughout the Territories. Library Services assisted local libraries by providing financial assistance for the provision of books and equipment and for hiring librarians. The Children's Program was developed and delivered through Library Services. This program was a reading project that consisted of books and cassettes that were provided to children through community libraries. Puppet shows, story hours and classroom sessions were also part of this program. The Government Library was also delivered under this service and provided information and research services to members of the Territorial Council and the staff of the government administration.
The Museum and Historical Program focused on the development, construction and operation of the Territorial Central Museum, later known as the Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre. The Museum and Historical Program implemented the Northwest Territories Museum Policy and provided a museum program for the preservation of artifacts and archival materials that depicted the way of life and events in the Northwest Territories, as well as protected the archaeological and historical sites in the Northwest Territories. The museum collected, produced exhibits and offered an extension service in support of community and regional museums such as the Northern Life Museum in Fort Smith and the Inuit Museum in Igloolik. A Northwest Territories Advisory Council was appointed by the Commissioner in 1976 which was to provide advice, guidance and direction in the overall programming of the museum, historical sites and archives and provided a liaison with other interested associations and individuals. In 1977, the first archaeological project through the Prince of Wales Museum was initiated to survey historical remains on Dealy Island. The issuing of archaeological permits would become a function of the Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre after it officially opened, as well as the fabrication of traveling exhibits and the circulation of exhibits from other museums. Between 1978-1979, a Territorial Archives was developed in order to preserve the documentary records of the history of the Northwest Territories. The Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre officially opened April 3, 1979 as a museum facility concerned with collection, exhibition, education/extension, archival and research activities. The Museum and Historical Programs Division also administered a program of grants to community museums and historical societies, as well as provided advice, assistance and technical services. The Grants for Northern Historical Development, which provided funding to the three major northern ethnic organizations to encourage preservation of native traditions, culture and history were also delivered by the Museum and Historical Program, as was a plaquing program that commemorated northern historical sites.
In 1979, the Department of Natural and Cultural Affairs dissolved. The Wildlife Service Division transferred to the Department of Renewable Resources; the Recreation Division transferred to the Department of Local Government; the Library Services Division and Museum and Historical Programs were transferred to the Department of Justice and Public Services.
On January 14, 1969, the Commissioner of the Northwest Territories announced the formation of the Northwest Territories Historical Advisory Board. The function of the Board was to advise the Commissioner on issues concerning the preservation of the history of the north. The Board was composed of nine members appointed by the Commissioner and a permanent secretary. The members' terms were limited to a maximum of five years and each member, with the exception of the Chairman, represented the interests of a specific region of the Northwest Territories. Each member would be responsible for informing the Board on historical matters in their area. The first Chairman of the Board was Alexander Stevenson, who worked out of Ottawa. The NWT Historical Advisory Board was responsible for all aspects of the preservation of history in the Northwest Territories and was given the authority to acquire artifacts and archives on behalf of the government. Furthermore, the Board made recommendations regarding the naming of geographical features, researched and counseled the Commissioner on the advisability to issue permits for archaeological research, started a programme to plaque and commemorate historical sites and undertook the task of planning the construction of a museum in Yellowknife. In 1975, the Historical Advisory Board was transferred from the Executive Secretariat to the Department of Natural and Cultural Affairs and replaced with Museum and Historical Programs.
Bill Stewart was born on June 12, 1950 in Darlington Country Durham, England. He was educated in Darlington and studied filmmaking at Teesside College of Art and subsequently did three years post-graduate study at the School of Film and Television of the Royal College of Art in London. He graduated in 1974 with a Master of Arts. In 1974, he immigrated to Canada and worked as a Film Editor for CBC in Toronto, where he worked on daily film reports of Justice Thomas Berger's Mackenzie Valley Pipeline Inquiry and Dean Lysik's Alaska Pipeline Inquiry. He arrived in Yellowknife in 1978 as the Film Editor for the new CBC North Television Centre. In 1980, he left CBC and joined the Government of the Northwest Territories, Department of Information, where he was the Technical Production Officer. He became Manager of that Audio-Visual Unit in 1981 and in 1983, coordinated the Dene Video Information Project. He participated in the filming of the 1981 "Last Mooseskin Boat Project." The project, jointly sponsored by the Native Communications Society of the Western NWT, the Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre, and the Government of the Northwest Territories Department of Information, involved the building of a mooseskin boat by the Mountain Dene and the documentation of this process. He left the Department of Information in 1988 and moved to Edmonton where he joined the Government of Alberta as the Film and Video Consultant for Alberta Culture.
Ferdinand Regier is an architect (OAA) who lived in Yellowknife from 1996 to 2000. During his time in the city, he worked on projects throughout the NWT. Mr. Regier currently works for the Government of Canada.
Ethel Sheila Coates was born in Carbon, Alberta to John Hubert Coates (an immigrant homesteader from London, England) and Edith Coates (Tirney) on January 16, 1922. She grew up on her parents’ farm, but spent most of her school years in Toronto (where her mother was from) and completed high school in Alberta. Her niece suggests that she may have had some formal training as a secretary, and an Ethel Sheila Coates is listed as having passed the Canadian federal government’s stenographers’ civil service exams in May 1941.
She left the family farm and moved to the Northwest Territories alone and worked for Imperial Oil in Normal Wells for a number of years in the 1940s. It appears that she was one of the few secretaries or female employees living and working in Norman Wells, and that she chose to remain there after the wartime project (the Canol project) was completed. According to her niece, she loved the Northwest Territories and referred to her time there as the best time of her life.
Later she moved to Devon, Alberta, where she lived and continued to work for Imperial Oil for approximately thirty years in total. In Alberta, she worked at the Leduc gas plant, which opened in 1950, and taught skiing at the local Devon ski hill. She traveled extensively internationally in the 1950s and 1960s. She did not marry.
She identified as an environmentalist, and established the Coates Conservation Lands as a bequest to the Edmonton Area Land Trust. She died in August 2014 in Devon, Alberta.
Ben Hall was born in Birmingham, England, in 1918 and married Nancy Pratt in 1951. They immigrated to Ontario in 1957 and Ben joined the seminary that same year and became an Anglican priest. In 1963 he accepted a call from the Bishop of the Arctic and moved to Hay River, NWT. During Ben Hall's time in Hay River (1963-1970) he ministered to the residents of Hay River, Fort Providence, and Pine Point. He was very involved in Boy Scouts in the North as well. Ben left the NWT in 1970, and he passed away in 2009 in Grande Prairie, AB.
Jean Boulva was born in Montreal and completed his Bachelor of Science degree from the Université de Montréal in 1968. He continued his studies at Dalhousie University, Halifax, earning a master’s degree in marine biology and a doctorate in biology. Dr. Boulva was employed as a professor of marine ecology at Université Laval, Regional Science Director for the Quebec Region in the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO), then Director of the Maurice Lamontagne Institute (MLI) in Mont-Joli, Quebec. Dr. Boulva is the author of numerous publications, has lectured on marine biology, served as a board member for teaching and research agencies, and been a guest expert on advisory committees.
During the summers of 1964, 1965, 1966, 1967, and 1968, Jean Boulva worked as a summer student for the Fisheries Research Board of Canada onboard the M. V. Salvelinus, a 12 meter research vessel.
In the summer of 1964, along with Captain Ingram Gidney and summer student David Patriquin, he was directed to prepare and sail the M. V. Salvelinus some 1000 kilometers from Cape Parry to Cambridge Bay. Jean took many photographs on the journey north, while staying in Inuvik for nine days (June 18-27), and while delayed in Cape Parry nearly 2 months (June 27-August 16) due to poor ice conditions. He also spent time on bird and plant studies. At the time, Cape Parry had a church, Hudson’s Bay store, and was the site of a DEW line station, PIN-Main. In later years, the population of Cape Parry relocated to Paulatuk, further south. They travelled from Cape Parry via Coppermine and southern Coronation Gulf, arriving on August 25 in Cambridge Bay, where they studied oceanography and marine fish populations until beginning their return trip on September 19.
In 1965, the same team returned for the summer (June 27-September 11). They conducted oceanographic and fishery work first in Cambridge Bay and then in Bathurst Inlet (August 9-12), and traveled alongside the patrol vessel R.C.M.P. Spalding from Cambridge Bay to Baychimo (Bay Chimo). They took a side trip to a field camp at Keyhole Lake (50 kilometers northwest of Cambridge Bay) to study a landlocked arctic char population.
From July 2 to September 17, 1966, Ingram Gidney, Jean Boulva, and David Curtis (also a summer student) conducted research in Cambridge Bay and at a site in Dease Strait near Starvation Cove (69° 09' 41"N 105° 58' 50"W, 36 kilometers west of Cambridge Bay), where they built a small laboratory to support a multi-year study of arctic marine waters and small arctic lakes. On August 19, the trio visited a commercial char fishery at Wellington Bay.
From June 19 to September 25, 1967, Ingram Gidney, Jean Boulva, Steve McColl, and David Curtis (also summer students), and Moses Koihok (a local Inuit assistant) continued the research from 1966 in Cambridge Bay and Dease Strait near Starvation Cove. During the sea ice breakup period, David Curtis and Steve McColl coordinated scientific field work at Starvation Cove while Moses Koihok, Jean Boulva and Ingram Gidney worked on fisheries, oceanography and preparing the M.V. Salvelinus in Cambridge Bay.
From June 16 to September 8, 1968, a larger group carried out scientific research, including Ingram Gidney, two Fisheries Research Board of Canada (F.R.B.C.) technicians (Marsha Joynt and Shirley Leach), two F.R.B.C. scientists (Ken Muth and Jay Wacasey), the scientist head of the M.V. Salvelinus research program (J. Gerald Hunter), as well as two summer students, Gary Atkinson and Jean Boulva. The group carried out studies of marine and freshwater productivity near Starvation Cove, and fisheries research in Cambridge Bay. The group took a trip to Bathurst Inlet “with a lot of bad weather from August 5 to 11”; on August 11 Ingram Gidney departed due to an arm injury; on August 16 the vessel’s transmission broke down and became inoperable until the end of the season.
Dr. Paris B. Stockdale was the head of the Geology Department at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. He also did consulting work for Harry Beekner, a mining stock speculator from Greenville, Tennessee. In July 1946, Harry Beekner financed a trip to the Northwest Territories, Ontario, Quebec and Manitoba in order to see the progress of some Canadian gold mines, in which he owned stock. Dr. Stockdale and Harry Beekner traveled by airplane, train and floatplane and the original 16 mm film was shot by Dr. Stockdale. In addition, to acting as a consultant for Mr. Beekner, Dr. Stockdale did consulting work for the Tennessee Valley Authority and the Manhattan Atomic Bomb Project at Oak Ridge, Tennessee.
Dennis Duffy produced a radio program entitled "Hooked on the North," using excerpts from oral history recordings by Marjorie Nichol and Dennis Williams concerning the life of Dennis Williams. The program was part of a project in the Applied Communication Program at Camosum College.
Charles Robert Harrman was born in New York in 1897. He spent his summers from 1950 to 1960 in Rae. He retired to Rae in 1961, where he remained writing and painting until his death in 1967.