James Jerome: Through a Gwich'in Lens
Fish CampsNorthern GamesPortraitsRecreation

James Jerome was born on July 31, 1949 in Aklavik, the youngest of six children. He grew up on the East Channel of the Mackenzie River at a camp known as Nichìitsìi diniinlee. His father, Joe Bernard Jerome, was a Special Constable with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), as well as a trapper and chief of the Gwichya Gwich'in of Tsiigehtchic. His mother was Celina (Coyen) Jerome.

After spending a number of years on the land with his parents, he attended Grollier Hall residential school in Inuvik. Upon graduating from high school, he trained to be a welder and after receiving his certificate, travelled across Canada.

James had received his first camera when he was twelve years old and upon his return to the Mackenzie Delta began travelling on the land and photographing families at fishing camps. During this time he became concerned that the Gwich'in culture would disappear as the elders died. He worked for the Native Press newspaper as a photographer, and later as a freelance photographer. At the time of his death, he was working on a book about Dene elders of the Mackenzie Valley entitled 'Portraits and History of the Dene Elders'. James Jerome died in a house fire in Inuvik on November 17, 1979.



Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre, Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, Canada


About James Jerome