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Residential Schools and Manitoba TB Sanatoriums Photo Exhibit


Residential Schools and Manitoba TB Sanatoriums Photo Exhibit

During the National Gathering of Elders in Winnipeg on September 9-11, 2019, the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation (NCTR) will be working with the Manitoba Indigenous Tuberculosis Photo Project (MITPP) on a photographic exhibit as a service to Survivors of Residential Schools and Manitoba Tuberculosis Sanatoriums and Hospitals.

The NCTR and MITPP will be making available photos from Residential Schools and Manitoba Tuberculosis Sanatoriums and Hospitals allowing Survivors, intergenerational Survivors, family and community members to view and possibly identify themselves and other individuals in the photographs as part of their healing journey. Staff from the NCTR, Archives of Manitoba including the Hudson’s Bay Company Archives, and MITPP will be available to aid with finding photographs and if requested, making copies for Survivors.

Ry Moran, director of the NCTR, explains: “The National Elders Gathering is a great opportunity for the NCTR to provide a significant service for Survivors. The photo room gives Survivors the opportunity to view photos of themselves and their classmates they may have never seen before. We are excited to provide this service and engage with Elders from across the country.”

In addition, NCTR archive staff will be available to receive archival donations and Survivor statements to be added to the NCTR archives at the request of Survivors. To facilitate the statement gathering, a private and secure area as well as health supports will be available. Survivors’ statements can be taken via video, audio, or in written form. Also, staff will be available to aid Survivors, intergenerational Survivors, family and community members with filling out information requests for records held by the Archives of Manitoba and the NCTR. This is similar to what the Truth and Reconciliation Commission provided during previous National Gatherings.

The unique experience at this photo exhibit for Survivors will be the introduction to the Manitoba Indian Tuberculosis Photo Project (MITPP). MITPP distributes and repatriates previously unseen archival photographs of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis tuberculosis patients and staff in mid-twentieth century Manitoba ‘Indian’ sanatoriums and hospitals. They are mandated to have the unnamed Indigenous patients and staff identified in the photos, establish collaborative knowledge-sharing relationships with communities and disseminate Indigenous histories of tuberculosis in Manitoba to the general public. The MITPP facilitates access to these archival images for Survivors, intergenerational Survivors, their families, and communities through a social media campaign and community-based workshops.

In addition, staff from the Hudson’s Bay Company Archives’ Names and Knowledge Initiative will have photographs available from communities across Canada. The Names and Knowledge Initiative is dedicated to increasing access to and identification of Indigenous people in the photograph collections.  

Dr. Erin Millions and Dr. Mary Jane McCallum from MITPP at the University of Winnipeg are inviting community members to share their recollections about the photos and identify individuals in the images in this private and welcoming space.

“The photos that we are sharing through this project have been held in private collections, and have never been released to the public,” said Millions. ” The people and places in the photos are generally not identified, so we hope that by sharing these photos we can both learn more about Indigenous histories of TB in Manitoba, and repatriate copies of the photos to ex-patients, their descendants, and their communities.” 

The National Elders Gathering will be held on September 9-11, 2019, at the RBC Convention Centre in downtown Winnipeg. The exhibit and welcoming space will be in the nearby Kildonan Room at the Delta Hotel from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm daily, open to the Elders at the National Elders Gathering, and also the general public.

Partners on this project are the NCTR, MITPP, the University of Winnipeg, and the Sanatorium Board of Manitoba.

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“Ka-kí-kiskéyihtétan óma, namoya kinwés maka aciyowés pohko óma óta ka-hayayak wasétam askihk, ékwa ka-kakwéy miskétan kiskéyihtamowin, iyinísiwin, kistéyitowin, mina nánisitotatowin kakiya ayisiniwak, ékosi óma kakiya ka-wahkotowak.”

Cree Proverb