The Department of Education, Culture and Employment (ECE) is pleased to announce the public launch of more than 13,000 photographs by Bern Will Brown. The Northwest Territories (NWT) Archives collection consists of pictures showing northern life through Brown’s lens over decades of living in and travelling the territory.
Bern Will Brown, who was also a painter, filmmaker, journalist, dog-musher and pilot, came north in 1948 as a young priest with the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate. In 1962 Father Brown was sent to Colville Lake. In 1971, he left the priesthood and married Margaret Steen of Inuvik. They spent over 40 years in Colville Lake, which he helped establish as a permanent community.
His photos, both in black and white and in colour, capture the daily lives of northerners at work and play in their home communities, including Behchokǫ̀, Aklavik, Inuvik, Paulatuk, Délı̨nę, Fort Good Hope, Tulita, Fort Providence, Fort Smith, and Colville Lake.
The NWT Archives acquired this comprehensive collection from Brown in 2005. Prior to his death in 2014, the Archives worked collaboratively with Brown to record information about the people and places in the collection.
The Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT) has launched the Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre’s (PWNHC) Museum Art Collection online portal, featuring over 1,400 records and photos of artwork, including sculptures, paintings, prints, and textiles.
The new portal increases public access to the PWNHC’s holdings, which showcases and preserves Northwest Territories (NWT) arts, cultures, history, and heritage. Collected over the 40-year history of the PWNHC, the public can search through the art collection and view artwork created by over 200 northern, Canadian, and international circumpolar artists from the comfort of their home.
Providing access to the collection is extremely valuable for anyone seeking information about their cultural heritage as well as those interested in the diverse collections of northern and Indigenous objects stored at the PWNHC.
The website features information about the artwork and high-definition images that can be enlarged and examined in detail, searched by artist, culture, region, or date according to interests. The size of the collection will continue to grow and evolve as new art is acquired.
This project was made possible by the financial support of the Government of Canada, Canadian Heritage Museum Assistance Program.
“Northern art is closely linked to the history and identity of the territory, as well as its residents and communities. The online Museum Art Collection allows us to showcase the amazing works of art produced in the NWT and allows us to celebrate the artists who produced them. Art is inseparable from history and culture, and making northern art more accessible territorially, nationally, and internationally will help promote the natural and cultural beauty of the NWT and its people.”
– R.J. Simpson, Minister of Education, Culture and Employment
The PWNHC has over 75,000 objects in its holdings including archaeology, human history, natural history, and art. These collections were developed over the last 40 years, and (as is typical for museums) only a fraction of the material can be exhibited in the museum at one time. By providing online access to the collections in storage, the PWNHC is providing access to thousands of objects.
The art collection is the first phase of a multi-year project to put PWNHC’s holdings more accessible.
While not directly connected to the NWT Arts Strategy 2021-2031, this project supports the principles of the strategy to promote and celebrate NWT arts and artists.
In person tours of the collections area or in-person visits to look at specific objects in the collection can be arranged by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre (PWNHC) re-opened on October 30 and is announcing the extension of the Treaty 11 Document Exhibit until November 21, 2021.
The document, which is in booklet form, has been on display at the PWNHC since September, with a page turned every week to provide the public with the opportunity to see each signatory page.
Due to the recent COVID-19 outbreak in Yellowknife, Behchokǫ̀, Ndilǫ, and Dettah, the PWNHC was temporarily closed to the public, pausing the weekly page turning of the document.
With the museum’s reopening, the exhibit has resumed with the remaining pages displayed in the following order:
November 1 to 7: Arctic Red River (Tsiigehtchic) and Fort McPherson page
November 8 to 14: Fort Liard and Fort Rae (Behchokǫ̀) page
November 15 to 21: title page
You can view the Treaty 11 Document Exhibit from Tuesday to Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Visiting the PWNHC during COVID-19
The PWNHC has implemented COVID-19 protocols. Face masks must be worn in all indoor public spaces in the NWT and anyone over the age of 12 must show proof of vaccination. If you are feeling unwell, please stay home. For more information on COVID-19 or the NWT’s current public health orders, visit www.gov.nt.ca/covid-19.
For media requests, please contact:
Manager, Public Affairs and Communications
Department of Education, Culture and Employment
Government of the Northwest Territories
867-767-9352 Ext. 71073
Senior Communications Officer
Department of Executive and Indigenous Affairs
Government of the Northwest Territories Todd_sasaki@gov.nt.ca
In recognition of the 100th anniversary of the signing of Treaty 11, the historic document has returned to the Northwest Territories (NWT) and is on display for public to view at the Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre (PWNHC) Tuesday to Sunday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. until late October.
This is the first time the document has been in the north since traveling by river to the nine signatory communities in 1921 and 1922 when it was signed by representatives of the Dehcho, Tłı̨chǫ, Sahtu and Gwich’in and the Government of Canada.
The document is in booklet form, with each community having a signatory page. The PWNHC will be turning the pages weekly to provide the public with the opportunity to see each signatory page.
The pages will be turned in the following order:
Fort Providence: September 13 – 19
Fort Simpson and Wrigley: September 20 – 26
Fort Norman (Tulita) and Fort Good Hope: September 27 – October 3
Arctic Red River (Tsiigehtchic) and Fort McPherson: October 4 – 10
Fort Liard and Fort Rae (Behchokǫ̀): October 12 – 17
Visit the PWNHC Facebook page for upcoming events and programing relating to Treaty 11.
The document is on loan from Library and Archives Canada (LAC) in Ottawa.
Visiting the PWNHC during COVID-19
The PWNHC is open and has implemented COVID-19 protocols. Face masks must be worn in all indoor public spaces in the NWT. If you are feeling unwell, stay home. For more information on COVID-19 or the NWT’s current public health orders, visit www.gov.nt.ca/covid-19.
“Treaty 11 is an important part of Canadian and Northwest Territories (NWT) history. It has helped shape our society today, and has contributed to the social and political evolution of our territory. I hope all residents will take time to go see this historic treaty and reflect on what it means to Indigenous people and governments in the NWT.”
-Caroline Cochrane, Premier of the Northwest Territories
“Recognizing and respecting the rights of Indigenous peoples is an integral part of creating an NWT that is reflective of those we serve. The Treaty 11 document coming back to the north is cause for celebration and reflection while we continue to build relationships based on mutual respect and shared responsibilities.”
-R.J. Simpson, Minister of Education, Culture and Employment
Photography and filming are prohibited in the historical Treaty 11 exhibit.
Because of its age, the Treaty 11 document requires conservation care to stabilize it to be on display. Turning of the pages will be carried out under very strict conditions.
The historical Treaty 11 exhibit is paired with the latest community exhibit at the PWNHC which tells the century-long story of Treaty 11 from the perspective of the Tłı̨chǫ. That exhibit is a partnership between the Tłı̨chǫ Government, Tłı̨chǫ citizens, and the PWNHC, who worked together to create it.
To ensure the health and safety of staff and visitors, the Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre has health and safety guidelines that comply with the GNWT’s Emerging Wisely Plan. These practices include:
Proof of Vaccination is Mandatory
Information to allow contact tracing will be collected per household
Reduced overall visitor capacity. There will now be a limit of 80 visitors in the museum at a time.
Gallery capacities will also be limited. These capacities will be marked at the entrance of each gallery.
Closure of the Museum Café and water fountain. Snacks from home can be brought and eaten in the café dining area.
Closure of interactive exhibits. Most interactive portions of the museum will be closed, covered or removed for visitor safety.
The museum kindly asks visitors to:
Wear Masks ( Mandatory)
Stay home if they are experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19
Maintain physical distancing measures
Sanitize hands when entering the building
Observe signage for traffic flow
Wash hands often and/or use hand cleaning stations
Please be patient and kind as we navigate and adjust to this new situation