See below for Stephen Loring's excerpt from the report The Inuvialuit Smithsonian Project: Winter 2009-Spring 2011 by Natasha Lyons, Kate Hennessy, Charles Arnold & Mervin Joe with contributions by Albert Elias, Stephen Loring, Catherine Cockney, James Pokiak, Billy Jacobson & Darrel Nasogaluak.
“As a Smithsonian curator there is no greater honor or responsibility than that of caring for and respecting the cultural treasures in our custody. Even the most mundane objects —a dull knife, a broken doll, a harpoon head or stone pipe—carry stories of long-ago days and bare witness to the lives of extraordinary people if only we know (or learn) how to listen. The Inuvialuit material that MacFarlane was able to assemble is a unique and priceless legacy that attests to a powerful and ancient way of life when human beings and animals and the land they shared were much more attuned to one another than they are today. These old things really are gifts of the ancestors and they serve as a powerful means of connecting the past with the present and the future. My colleagues and I are tremendously honoured that such a distinguished group of Inuvialuit elders, scholars and young people would come to Washington to share with us their knowledge and appreciation of the collection. It is hard to imagine that the Inuvialuit that worked with MacFarlane to assemble the collection could have imagined the importance of it for their descendants more than 150 years later. We hope that this is the beginning of a new era of cooperation and interaction between Inuvialuit leaders, educators and community members and the Smithsonian in exploring the significance and meaning of the Inuvialuit collections at the Smithsonian and furthering an understanding and appreciation of their history,
culture and homelands.”