Inuit students walking in pairs.

We Were So Far Away:

The Inuit Experience of Residential Schools

by The Legacy of Hope Foundation and Library and Archives Canada

On view June 7 – November 27, 2022

The Vancouver Maritime Museum is pleased to host this travelling exhibition that explores the residential school experiences of Inuit peoples.

The Inuit experience was unique and in part because of rapid social and political change in the North at the start of the 20th century. We Were So Far Away uses first-person narratives and archival images to tell stories of the Inuit residential school experience. The exhibition highlights the stories of eight Inuit residential school survivors. Each survivor talks about their experience in their own words. The stories are paired with personal and historical photographs that share:

  •  their memories of childhood
  • their experiences of school
  • the struggles they have overcome  
  • the challenges they still face today

We Were So Far Away has generated dialogue within Inuit communities and among non-lndigenous Canadians. Survivors have said that it remains hard for  many Inuit communities to talk about residential schools.  Many visitors to the exhibition understood that there were differences between the First Nations, Inuit, and Métis experience of these schools. 

The last residential school was Grollier Hall, a residential school for Indian and Inuit children in Inuvik, North West Territories, opened in 1959 and was run by the Oblates until 1985. It closed in 1997. The impacts of the school have been devastating for generations of people in the North.

The Legacy of Hope Foundation (LHF) is a national, Indigenous-led, charitable organization that promotes healing and reconciliation in Canada. The LHF’s goal is to educate and raise awareness about the history and existing intergenerational impacts of the residential school system (RSS) and Sixties Scoop (SS) on Indigenous (First Nations, Inuit, and Métis) survivors, their descendants, and their communities. The LHF works to encourage people to address discrimination and injustices in order to contribute to the equality, dignity, and respectful treatment of Indigenous Peoples and to foster Reconciliation and to promote healing.