The Nanilavut Initiative

The Nanilavut Initiative was created to help Inuvialuit and Inuit from across Canada locate lost loved ones who did not return home after being sent to southern hospitals during the Tuberculosis Epidemic (1940s to 1960s). In many cases, information about patients being treated for Tuberculosis (TB) in the south was never communicated to family members back home.

Nanilavut means “Let’s find them” in Inuktut.

Are you searching for a family member from the Inuvialuit Settlement Region who succumbed to their Tuberculosis illness in a southern hospital or sanitorium? The Nanilavut Initiative can help you.

How Nanilavut can help you

The Nanilavut Initiative provides research services and mental health supports for families searching for their loved ones.

A Project Administrator in each Inuit region is there to support and assist you in your search. Beverly Lennie is the Nanilavut Project Administrator for the Inuvialuit Settlement Region. She can answer any questions you have about a lost loved one before beginning your search. She is also able to search a Nanilavut database on behalf of family members to provide you with the information she finds.

Once an Inuvialuit family contacts the Nanilavut Project Administrator, she opens an Inquiry/Search file and research begins to locate lost Inuvialuit loved ones. The Nanilavut Project Administrator will continue to provide research services throughout your search and enter new inquiries and information into the database as it becomes available.

The Nanilavut Initiative can also help by providing funding for family members to travel to a loved one’s southern gravesite, once located. The Nanilavut Initiative will ensure that your loved one’s grave is properly marked and that suitable gravesite enhancements are made if required. Commemorative events in the Inuvialuit Settlement Region and at southern burial locations will be announced as the Nanilavut Initiative progresses.

The Nanilavut Initiative will also share educational information and tools with the public to attempt to reduce and eventually eliminate Tuberculosis throughout Inuit Nunangat, Canada and the world.

The Nanilavut Initiative (audio)

Click on the links below to listen to audio recordings describing an overview of the Nanilavut Initiative and where to contact a Nanilavut Project Administrator in the language of your choosing.

  • Beverly Lennie (English)

  • Shirley Elias (Kangiryuarmiutun)

  • Valerie Steffanson (Uummarmiutun)

  • Albert Elias (Sallirmiutun)