Ken Roberts was born February 9, 1928. He worked initially as a fishing guide in Manitoba then worked on Lake Winnipeg. He first travelled to Hay River in 1950 as a summer student with the Fisheries Research Board of Canada. Ken moved to Hay River in 1956 with his wife Ruth to work for the Fisheries Research Board, later transitioning to the Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans where he spent part of his work visiting fishing camps on Great Slave Lake. He was involved in the Great Slave Lake fishing industry for over 40 years. He died March 3, 2010.
Suzanne Paré (née Benita Girard) was born and raised on the Canadian Prairies. She trained as a Registered Nurse (RN) and largely worked in urban centres for the first 10 years of her career.
From May to September 1985, Paré pursued an opportunity to work on a summer term contract at the cottage hospital (health centre) in Behchoko. This work included medevacs by ambulance and float plane in addition to regular shift work. While in Behchoko, Paré enjoyed many activities both on her own and with community members, including her three-minute jog to work, biking, sailing on Great Slave Lake, barbecues, bingos, and tea dances. Paré developed deep respect for community members and continues to appreciate the shared stories and friendships developed while she lived in Behchoko.
Following her time in Behchoko, Paré lived and worked as an RN in Rankin Inlet, Nunavut, and in various communities in the Yukon. Later in life, she pursued university studies in Economics and was employed by the federal public service. Recently retired, Paré enjoys living closer to nature and developing her creativity through photography and writing.
Suzanne Paré donated her collection of slides to the NWT Archives in 2023.
The Department of Information, initially known as Information Services, was organized in Ottawa in May of 1967. The department was re-established in Yellowknife under the direction of E. R. Horton with the transfer of the government in September 1967.
The Department of Information was responsible for informing residents of the Northwest Territories of the policies, programs and activities of the Government of the Northwest Territories, informing the public outside of the Territories about the north, and providing inter-governmental information systems. In addition, it was responsible for meeting the printing, translation, graphic design and publication needs of the Government of the Northwest Territories. By 1969, the Still Photo Library, a component of of the Information Services Department, had catalogued and indexed more than 1100 colour transparencies and 500 black and white negatives.
In 1970, the department was organized into two divisions: Publications and Public Relations. The Publications Division was involved in the research, writing, editing, and designing a variety of government publications, such as the Annual Report and newsletters; its Printing section, later known as the Printing Bureau, handled all Government of the Northwest Territories printing requirements either in-house or through the private sector. In 1979, the head of the Printing Bureau was appointed Territorial Printer and the responsibility for printing all new Northwest Territories ordinances was assumed from the Queen's Printer in 1980.
The Public Relations division, later renamed Public Affairs, was responsible for all public relations functions including press releases, films, slide shows, liaison with the press, escorting dignitaries, translation services and maintaining a photo library. In 1973, an Interpreter-Translator Corps was established within the Public Relations division to meet the needs of communications in the multi-lingual north. The Corps was to provide Dene and Inuit oral interpretation and written translation services for the GNWT, Council of the NWT and other groups and agencies. It also assisted with communications between aboriginal peoples and the government, hospitals, and courts. A radio program production centre was created to provide programming to community stations and prepare government information packages on topics such as the Northwest Territories Council, Home Management and Consumer Affairs. A review of Department of Information functions in 1976 indicated that regionalization of its programs was required. Interpreter-translators in each region became responsible for determining the communication needs within their region and providing programming ideas and materials. The Yellowknife headquarters acted as the service agency for the production of required programs. In 1982, the Interpreter-Translator Corps was reorganized into the Language Bureau to handle the priorities in language and culture activities as set by the Legislative Assembly and the Executive Council. This function was a priority and money was redirected to the Language Bureau from other activities.
Another major initiative of the Department of Information was the Northern Communications Program established in 1978. The program provided the facilities for satellite-fed northern television and radio service to communities. Initially, facilities were provided for communities with populations between 250 and 500 people. These requirements were reduced to communities of 150 people in 1981 and then to communities with populations less than 150 people with an established power supply. By 1986, facilities existed in all qualifying communities. A grant program for operating costs was also offered to local radio stations providing native language programming.
The Department of Information produced a variety of public information brochures on topics such as the Dene, Inuit, canoeing, transportation, climate, flora, and fauna of the Northwest Territories. Poster series promoting the north were produced, as well as "The Traditional Life Series" consisting of prints of Dene and Inuit.
In 1985, the Government of the Northwest Territories consolidated cultural and communications related activities. The newly formed Department of Culture and Communications assumed the functions of the Department of Information.
Arthur George Boutilier was born in 1946 to Jack and E. Claire Boutilier in Halifax, Nova Scotia. He had three sisters, Catherine, Daphne, and Barbara.
Arthur attended Gorsebrook and Tower Road Schools in Halifax and Kings College School in Windsor, Nova Scotia. He received additional education at Dalhousie University (1963-1965), the Nova Scotia Technical School of Architecture (1965-1969), and the Harvard University Graduate School of Design (1969-1971), earning an engineering diploma, Bachelor of Architecture, and Masters of Landscape Architecture. He worked for architectural and urban design consulting firms in the United States, including Llewlyn-Davies Associates, William L. Pereira Associates, and Ben-Ami Friedman, AIP. In 1975, Arthur discovered R. Buckminster Fuller’s book “Synergetics”, which influenced and altered his design thinking.
In 1976, Arthur joined Parks Canada with a job in national park planning. He became involved in an investigation of the Torngat Mountains and Mealy Mountains in Labrador as proposed National Parks, which touched him deeply and ignited a passion for the North. He was also involved with developing a park management plan for Gros Morne National Park in Newfoundland.
In 1981, Arthur moved to Yellowknife, Northwest Territories and was employed as a Senior Planner and Urban Designer for the Government of the Northwest Territories, Department of Local Government, doing community-based town planning. From 1984 until his retirement in 2011, he worked for the federal Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, becoming involved with the Northwest Territories Land Use Planning Commission (1984-1986), Lancaster Sound Regional Land Use Planning Commission (1984-1991), and Nunavut Planning Commission (1989-1991) in regional land use planning for various areas including Lancaster Sound, Keewatin, Sahtu, and Deh Cho. Later job titles included Special Advisory, Head Projects & Planning, Nunavut Land Use Planning Coordinator, and Mackenzie Valley Land Use Planning Coordinator. Following retirement, he served as a board member of the Gwich’in Land Use Planning Board from 2017-2020.
Arthur’s father was a photographer and Arthur’s own interest in photography stems from his experience at Expo’67 in Montreal. He has steadily cultivated it since then, taking thousands of images and showing his work in several exhibits.
In 1983, Arthur applied to the Canadian Astronaut Program, making the first cut. He was also involved with the northern SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) Program chapter.
Arthur struggled with alcoholism throughout the 1980s and early 1990s, finally accessing treatment in 1991 and becoming involved with Alcoholics Anonymous. He met Dale Murphy in 1992, the love of his life, and the two were married on July 10, 1994. Arthur and Dale continue to live in Yellowknife.
Gordon Robertson Education Centre (GREC) opened in 1971 as a junior and senior high school and vocational school. In addition to local students from Iqaluit, its enrolment included students from other communities who were housed in Ukkivik Hall, which opened along with GREC and closed in 1996. In the early 1990s, the school was renamed Inuksuk High School.
Alexander Halley Low was born March 29,1892 in Kensington, London, England, the son of Alexander Graham Low and Annie Halley. He received a Master of Arts degree from Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge and studied geology at the Royal School of Mines, London. He served in World War I, mostly in Ireland.
Around 1914, Alexander went on an oil prospecting trip in the Northwest Territories with Dr. T. O. Bosworth. Following the War, he returned to the Northwest Territories as an oil prospector in the Great Slave Slake region for the Imperial Oil Company. While there, he was approached by Bishop James R. Lucas to teach at the St. Peter's Mission (Residential) School in Hay River ca. 1918-19. In the early 1920s he continued oil exploration in the Fort Norman (now Tulita) area of the Northwest Territories with Mackenzie River Oil Ltd.
Alexander also did some oil prospecting in Peru and was a member of the Royal Geographical Society. He married Dorothy Lindesay Gregory in 1933 and had two children, Jean Mary Lindesay Low and Alexander John Stewart Low. Alexander Halley Low died July 2, 1974 in Ferring, Sussex, England.
Claire Barnabe was born on November 13, 1940 in Eastview (now Vanier), Ontario. She attended Our Lady of the Presentation in Overbrook for elementary school and Eastview High School in Vanier for secondary school. Claire was a member of the religious order of Holy Cross for four years. She attended Ottawa Teachers' College and obtained a permanent Ontario Teachers' Certificate. She taught at an elementary school in Alexandria, Ontario, Iona Academy in St. Raphael’s West, Ontario, for the Catholic School Board in Montreal, and for the Separate School Board in Ottawa before moving north.
In 1965, she accepted a teaching position at Fort Franklin (now Deline), where she worked until 1967. During her time in Deline, she was also Secretary of the Community Club. In 1968, after spending a year in the south and touring Europe, Claire returned to the north to work as a teacher in Fort Providence. She was also President of the Community Club there and Chairman of the NWT Centennial Planning Committee for Fort Providence.
In 1969, she left her teaching position in Fort Providence and moved to Norman Wells where she worked at the Mackenzie Mountain Lodge. She moved back to Fort Providence later that year to work for Alex Arychuk, also in the hotel business. In the 1970 Territorial election, she ran as a candidate for the Lower Mackenzie riding. Following her defeat in the election, she applied to work as a Settlement Manager.
In May 1971, she accepted the position of settlement manager in Port Burwell on Killinek Island, where she remained until May 1973. After a very brief time as Settlement Manager at Large for the Baffin Region, she became the Settlement Manager at Repulse Bay (now Naujaat, Nunavut). Also in 1973, she was appointed to be a member of the NWT Historical Advisory Board. In 1974, Claire returned to Norman Wells as Settlement Manager there. She ran in the 1975 Territorial election and the 1976 by-election for the riding of Mackenzie Great Bear, but was defeated both times.
She took leave from the GNWT in 1976 to work on a Master’s degree in Public Administration at Carleton University, Ottawa. In 1978, she joined Bud Drury’s office as a policy analyst. She ran again in the 1979 Territorial election for the riding of Yellowknife Centre and was again defeated. Claire remained in the north for many more years, before retiring to the south.
John Turquand (Turq) McCollum was born May 12, 1923, in Toronto, Ontario. In 1953, he married Joan (nee Watson), and they had four children: Peter, Jenny, Kathy, and Maggie.
From 1954-1963, the McCollums lived in Fort Smith, where John was an Anglican minister of the Diocese of the Arctic. In 1963, the family moved to Beaverlodge, Alberta, where they lived until 1970. In 1970, the McCollums returned to the north and lived in Hay River. In 1975, John McCollum became Archdeacon of the Diocese of the Arctic. The McCollums continued to live in Hay River until their retirement to Calgary, Alberta, in 1988.
John McCollum died June 14, 2020, in Calgary, Alberta. He was buried with his wife Joan in Hay River.
Samuel Hearne Secondary School (SHSS) began operating in 1966 and was officially opened two years later by Minister Jean Chretien. Prior to 1966, Inuvik students from all grades attended Sir Alexander Mackenzie School, which continued operating as an elementary school after SHSS opened. The school was originally administered by the federal government; it was transferred to the Government of the Northwest Territories in 1969, and then to the Beaufort-Delta Divisional Education Council, which was established in 1989 to administer regional schools.
The original high school building included two science rooms, a library, industrial arts and home economics facilities and a gym. A 10 classroom addition was completed in 1972, and several trade shops were added in the early 1980s to meet the needs of a vocational certificate program, including an auto shop in 1982, carpentry shop in 1983, and general mechanics shop in 1984.
In addition to residents of the town of Inuvik, the student body at SHSS also included residential school students brought from communities across the Beaufort Delta region and the Arctic to stay at the two major Federal hostels, Stringer Hall (which closed in 1975) and Grollier Hall (which closed in 1996). After the closure of the hostels, students from some small communities continued to attend SHSS for the upper high school grades while boarding in private homes in the town.
SHSS closed in 2012 when it was replaced by the new East Three Secondary School, and the building was demolished in June 2013.
Galena Heights Elementary School opened in 1977, originally housing pupils from kindergarten to grade two. Galena Heights Elementary School was expanded in 1980 to host students up to grade five after a fire destroyed the other school in the town; the rebuilt Matonabbee School opened in 1981 for the senior grades. Both schools closed in June 1988 with the closure of the mine and community of Pine Point.
The Sachs Harbour School was constructed in the summer of 1968, first opening in fall 1968 to students in grades 1-6 and originally operated by the federal government. Prior to the school being built, children were sent to Shingle Point, Aklavik, then Inuvik for schooling, and after its construction, older students continued to go to Inuvik for later grades. This school was transferred to the GNWT when it assumed responsibility for education in 1969, and was replaced by Inualthuyuk School which opened in 1973.
The provision of western education in Fort Providence began at the Providence Mission School in 1867, sometimes known as “Our Lady of Fort Providence Residential School” but more consistently known as the “Sacred Heart Mission School” or “Sacred Heart Residential School” (“École du Sacré-Coeur” in French). The school was operated by the Grey Nuns and initially was meant to provide a boarding and day school for Hudson Bay Company employee children. It soon focussed on orphaned and needy children and is known as the first residential school in Canada’s north, although other sites of shorter duration possibly predate Sacred Heart.
Sacred Heart Residential School took in both day pupils and residential boarders. It was chronically under supported, and the Grey Nuns threatened to close or possibly did close it in 1881/82, and reopened with Federal Government funding later in the 1880s. The original log structure was expanded in 1912, and a new three story school built in 1930. An extension was added to this in 1948.
Students came from communities throughout the north, and even as far south as Fort McMurray and Fond-du-Lac. In later years children came from primarily the Deh Cho region; home communities included Fort Providence, Fort Simpson, Fort Liard, Wrigley, Norman Wells, Tulita, Ptarmigan Point, Yellowknife, Fort Smith, Trout Rock and Hay River, and sometimes others. It is unclear when the residential school closed, as historical sources give dates ranging from 1953 to 1960, but the Federal Elizabeth Ward Elementary School opened in 1958 and Sacred Heart Residence likely closed in 1959.
The provision of western education in Inuvik began immediately during the community’s construction, with a temporary Federal school in 1956. Several of the attending children came from Aklavik, from where community government officials were strongly encouraging families to relocate. In 1959 a large new regional school opened, officially named Sir Alexander Mackenzie School (SAMS) in 1961. This school housed all grades until Samuel Hearne Secondary School was built in 1966. By that time SAMS had 38 classrooms and capacity for 890 students from grades 1 to 12.
In 1969 all educational facilities in Inuvik were transferred to the Government of the Northwest Territories, who assumed responsibilities for education from the federal government. The Beaufort-Delta Divisional Education Council was established in 1989 to administer regional schools.
In addition to residents of the town of Inuvik, the student body at SAMS for much of its history also included residential school students brought from communities across the Beaufort Delta region and the Arctic to stay at the two major Federal hostels, Stringer Hall (which closed in 1975) and Grollier Hall (which closed in 1996).
SAMS continued to operate as an elementary school until 2012, when it was replaced by the new East Three Elementary School. The SAMS building was demolished in May 2014.
The Norman Wells Federal Day School opened in 1960, and was transferred to the territorial government when it assumed responsibility for education in 1969. The school was originally a one room school located on the river bank, and classes were relocated several times, operating out of portable classrooms through most of the 1970s. It was replaced by the Mackenzie Mountain School, which opened in 1983.
The Fort Norman Federal Day School, also known as the Colin Campbell School, was constructed in 1949 or 1950 in the community now known as Tulita. It initially had two classrooms, with a third added in 1968/69. In 1969 the facility was taken over by the territorial government. Although the school ‘s enrolment consisted of children whose families lived in the community, for a brief period in 1971 there was a small hostel associated with it, to provide a temporary residence for children whose parents were out on the land. The school was replaced by the Chief Albert Wright School, which opened in 1980.
The provision of western education in Nahanni Butte began when evangelist missionaries Mr and Mrs Philip Howard began instructing children in early 1957, without the approval of the Federal government. Summer (tent) school was provided in 1957 and 1958.
A one-room school building was completed around 1959, but the opening of an official Federal Day School was delayed until 1961 due to staffing and housing issues. This school was transferred to the GNWT when it assumed responsibility for education in 1969 and was eventually given the name Charles Yohin School. The school building has been replaced twice, in 1978 and 1985, with both new buildings being constructed by the people of the community.
Gordon Beattie Pritchard was born in Galt, Ontario on March 17, 1909. In 1935, he graduated from the University of Toronto with a Bachelor of Architecture and then served with the Royal Canadian Air Force during World War II. He joined the Building Construction Division of the Department of Public Works in Ottawa in 1948. He was appointed the first chief of the federal Northern Construction Division, Department of Public Works, in 1956. In this capacity, he toured widely throughout the north supervising the construction of federal projects. One of his major responsibilities was to oversee the construction of Inuvik, which was completed in 1961. He wrote a number of articles on building projects he had been involved with, particularly those in Inuvik. He died in Ottawa on November 1, 1964.