Aboriginal Peoples: Paddling the North

Well the Tasker collection only consists of one thing and that’s a photo album.
Morgon has scanned all these photographs and has researched the two people who
photographed it. Who are they? Who are the Taskers? Where did they come from? Why did they come to Labrador? What happened to them afterwards? Another thing we, Morgon and I discussed quite a bit is, how did we get this? I mean, it was purchased from a private book dealer/book seller, but where did it come from before that? There’s this whole story that you know we never before had access to. In order to understand the album one really needs to understand what the
expedition was. And conversely it’s difficult to really get a handle on the exhibition unless you see the pictures. So you sort of developed the
understanding of those two things together, the narrative and the pictures are sort of inseparable. The exhibition was written about by both Stephen Tasker and
Florence Tasker in a bunch of different ways and sort of the story of those
stories is interesting. Two people crossed Ungava in 1906. So they
left Philadelphia by rail and then went through Toronto went went up as far as they could by rail, then took to the canoe with two guides, George Elson who was made famous already by having accompanied the Hubbards and Job Chapies. So they canoed up the Missinaibi River to Moose factory and went up James Bay all the way up the coast and across. There is photos of everything that they saw along the way, of local people, of traders, of indigenous people, of the landscape. One of the great things about these photos which makes
them relatively rare is the presence of captions. So in some cases particularly if, if you look at the photos alongside the printed accounts you can figure out where
exactly the photos were taken. So we do have a lot of photos of Northern
Labrador in general or of Ungava in general but these ones are great in that often you
can figure out exactly where the photos were taken. One of the most important things
I think he’d mind doing any kind of archival research or research in general
is that one thing leads to another, so once once
you have this album all of a sudden you can find things that people didn’t know
about before and then those things lead to new questions and those questions lead to new answers. So digitization is an important part of
that but also just sharing in conversation is an important part of
that. For us, in the archives world it is important for preservation just to keep them and preserve them for generations to come. And then once there digitized people can look at the digital image and we can
actually put this back in a proper archival box and stored under proper archival conditions. But it is also the bigger things everybody gets to see them. You don’t have to come into
Memorial’s campus in St. John’s, you can be in Labrador, you can be anywhere.

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