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Brown, Bern Will

Bern Will Brown was born in Rochester, New York in 1920 and came north in 1948 as a priest with the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate. In his first fourteen years in the north, he worked in a variety of locations, including Fort Norman (Tulita); Fort Franklin (Deline); Goldfields, Saskatchewan; Fort Chipewyan, Alberta; Aklavik; Fort McMurray, Alberta; and Nahanni Butte.

In 1962 Father Brown was sent to Colville Lake, only a short distance north of the Arctic Circle, in the traditional homeland of the Hareskin (North Slavey) Dene. On the shore of the lake he planned and built a log church, “Our Lady of the Snows”, in what was soon a growing community of log buildings. In 1971, he left the priesthood and married Margaret Steen of Inuvik; the couple remained in Colville Lake and continued to be active members of the community.

In addition to his regular duties, Father Brown performed routine medical work and dentistry and has been a fire warden, dogcatcher, storekeeper, postmaster, and newspaper editor. He was also a prolific artist, creating many paintings and photographs, and published five books. Bern and Margaret Brown built and operated the Colville Lake Lodge as well as a small museum and art gallery.

Bern Will Brown died on July 4, 2014 at the age of 94.

Keim, Terry

Born in 1940 in Acme, Alberta, Terry Keim was hired by Transport Canada as a Radio Operator. He began work in Fort Simpson, and after a year there he was transferred to Inuvik. He remained in Inuvik between 1962-1967 and documented his experience there on film.

Stirton, Robert

In the late 1930s to early 1940's Robert Stirton worked on the Hudson's Bay Company (HBC) boats transporting supplies to the HBC posts from Waterways, Alberta to Aklavik.

Kennedy, Pi

Pi Kennedy is a trapper and dog musher from the Fort Smith region.

Porter, Peter M.

Very little is known of Peter M. Porter, except that he entered the employ Slave Lake Gold Mines Limited on August 7, 1938 in Yellowknife and spent at least the following year on Outpost Island. He also appears to have had business interests in a mill and transport scow. Porter may also have been involved in other mining ventures around Yellowknife, as he shows up as a miner at Chipp Lake in 1942.

Andru, Peter

Peter Andru was born in Phoenix, AB on November 3, 1930, the son of John and Mary Andru. He was raised in Edmonton, AB and graduated from the University of Alberta in 1954 with a B.S. in civil engineering, followed by an M.Sc. At the U of A in 1956 and an M.S.E. specializing in river engineering from Princeton in 1958. Peter Andru was employed by the federal government in the Department of Public Works - Harbours and Rivers Branch, moving to different offices across Canada within the Department. His specialties were harbour and river hydraulics dredging, and breakwaters. While in the Edmonton office from 1962-1965 he worked on projects in the north, including wharf repairs and pile foundation design and installation in Fort Chipewyan and Aklavik. Later working for Swan Wooster Engineering Company in the 1970s he was also involved in a project for Imperial Oil, designing a man-made island in the Beaufort Sea to support an oil drilling rig, the first of its kind. His career also spanned work in Thunder Bay, Vancouver, St. John’s, the US, and Karachi, Pakistan, and included 30 years total service in Public Works. He retired from the engineering profession in 1993.

Peter Andru married Evelyn (nee Frame) on July 22, 1961, and had six sons: Peter John, James Franklin, Stephen Lawrence, David Michael, Robert Paul and Gordon Neil. Peter played football when he was young and enjoyed bowling, curling and competitive bridge. He died on June 9, 2005 in Vancouver, BC.

Vaudrack, Paul
Person · 1890-1975

Paul Vaudrack, AKA Voudrach or Vaudrak, (1890-1975) was born Paul Voedjin Tchiatsell in March 1890 at Tsiigehtchic [Arctic Red River]. His father was Simon Voedzjin (1851-1895) and his mother was Noelia Thell’ya (1862-1901). Paul had three sisters and one brother.

At the time of his father’s death in 1895, Paul and his family lived with a group of people who lived on the land. Until his mother’s death six years later, the family travelled with this group of people between Dawson, Yukon and Arctic Red River, N.W.T. In 1903, Paul met the priest at Arctic Red River who recommended that Paul, his younger sister and brother go to the Mission in Fort Providence. At Fort Providence, Paul went to school and worked for the Mission for three years. He learned primarily French and later English at school. In 1906, Bishop Breynat asked Paul to move to Fort Resolution with him where Paul worked at the Mission sawmill for two years. Paul left Fort Resolution at age 18 to live on the land, and went back to the mountains to hunt for big game with a group of people.

Paul married Magdeleine Kotchile (? – 1932?) in Fort Good Hope. They had three children, one of whom died in infancy. Paul Vaudrack died at the Inuvik hospital on August 21, 1975.

Paul was a storyteller, recounting and recording many traditional Gwich’in, Slavey and Athapaskan stories. He recorded stories with researchers Hiroko Sue and Janice (Hurlbert) March in 1961, which were published by Ronald Cohen and Helgi Osterreich in 1967 in the National Museum of Canada’s Contributions to Ethnology V: Bulletin 204. As well, he recorded stories through the 1960s with Father Rene Fumoleau.

Pappas, George

George Pappas was the proprietor of Yellowknife Bakery from 1950 to 1968. His sister, Esther Pappas, married Ken "Curly" McDonald, a Yellowknife prospector. Photos from Ken document his time at the Outpost Island mine. George Pappas married Helen Pappas (nee Thom), whose uncle was Art Umbach, the Yellowknife postmaster from 1942 to 1963. Art and Elsie Umbach had a son, Russell Umbach. George and Helen Pappas had a daughter, Lynn Carrier.

Klaus, Alfred

Alfred Klaus worked for Con Mine in Yellowknife from July 1941-July 1942, then left to join the Armed Forces.

Taylor, Ken

Ken Taylor holds an undergraduate degree in the history of northern Canada from Queen's University. In 1971, he earned a Master's degree in Biogeography from the University of Alberta, studying the revegetation of the Discovery Mine site. From 1970 to 1979, Mr. Taylor worked as a project manager on the Land Use Information Map project. In the course of this work he travelled to communities in the NWT, as well as accompanying the wildlife survey biologist on some aerial surveys, and took many photographs. In 1979, he transferred to the Polar Gas pipeline project, and participated in aerial reconnaissance of the proposed pipeline routes.

Murphy, Mary Craig

Mary Craig Murphy was born in [Dawson City] Yukon, in 1909/1910. She was a graduate of Toronto General Hospital School of Nursing, and in the early part of her career worked at Fort William and northern Ontario mining communities. She served as a volunteer in the Red Cross Corps in Scotland during WWII. Mary Murphy arrived in Yellowknife on November 29, 1947 to assume the position of matron nurse at the new Yellowknife Red Cross Hospital. Her duties included hospital administration as well as nursing supervision. Within the community, Mary was active in the Daughters of the Midnight Sun and the Trinity Anglican Church. She resigned from her position at the hospital in spring of 1959 and left Yellowknife on July 23, 1959. She nursed in Burlington, Ontario in the 1960s and moved to New Westminster BC to be close to her siblings in the late 1960s. Mary died in New Westminster, BC on December 20, 1969. As a memorial to her legacy in Yellowknife, the seniors care home that opened in Yellowknife in early 1970 was named the Mary Murphy Seniors Home.

Phillips, K.W.

K.W. Phillips was an aircraft maintenance engineer in the RCMP Air Division stationed in Ottawa.

Matta, John Phillip

John Phillip Matta was born in 1928 in Vancouver, British Columbia, the eldest of four children. His father worked in the mining industry and thus moved the family to mine sites in British Columbia and Quebec while John grew up. He graduated from high school in 1946, and worked in mines until 1953 when he chose to join the Royal Canadian Air Force. He spent 10 years in the RCAF as a photographer with photo intelligence. After leaving the Air Force he worked as a production manager for a photo finishing company until his retirement in 1991. He has lived in Calgary since 1954.

Leslie, John K.

John K. Leslie worked at the Tuktoyaktuk DEW Line site as civilian personnel from 1958 to 1961.

Corporate body

The Federated Women's Institute of Canada was founded in 1919 and was designed to discover, stimulate, and develop leadership among women. It aimed to give a voice to women in rural communities about their concerns. Gladys Vear was appointed as a field worker in the Mackenzie District for the Northern Canada Women's Institute in 1968.