Chesterfield recorded the effects of post life upon the Cree and Inuit, and showed how the white agents of the church and fur trade made us of native implements, clothing, and transportation. Recognizing the threat to native ways of life posed by the white man's advancing civilization, he photographed the native people's dress, their everyday activities, the details that define a culture. Much of what he recorded is now lost forever. The text by William C. James provides a detailed framework in which to understand the photographs. James describes Chesterfield's life, the region, the people he photographed, the role of the Hudson's Bay Company, the documentary significance of the activities depicted in the photographs, and the relationship between these and other extant photos of that region and era. The three-year period Chesterfield spent in the District of Ungava emerges as crucial in his own development and as a decisive turning point in the history of the region. Together with James's text, these pictures constitute an arresting chronicle of a place, its people, and their ways of life, now all irrevocably changed.
William James is a member of the department of religion at Queen's University, Kingston.
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