CBC News: Rich history of Cowessess First Nation comes to life through digital photo library

Some photos depict residential schools, but band members say that’s overpowered by other family photos

From black-and-white images of children in uniforms backed by sombre-faced nuns to vivid colour photos of a teenager leaping into a swimming pool, a new project is capturing the history of life on Cowessess First Nation.

“The goal is to preserve all these moments in time for the community, for the people now, the generations now, and those yet to come — because it will be lost otherwise,” said Eleanor Agecoutay, a project assistant for Listen, Hear Our Voices: A Digital Library of Photographs for Cowessess First Nation.

That project is supported through Library and Archives Canada, which helps First Nations Inuit and Métis communities to digitize and preserve language and culture materials.

Agecoutay’s involvement goes back to 2005, when the former teacher was asked to put together a history of Marieval Indian residential school. As part of that project, she began collecting several historical pictures showing life on Cowessess, going as far back to the early part of the 20th century.

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