Pulitzer Center Update

The Atlantic and Photo + Magazine on Daniella Zalcman

Mike Pinay, Qu’Appelle Indian Residential School, 1953-1963. Pinay says, “It was the worst ten years of my life. I was awayx from my family from the age of 6 to 16. How do you learn about relationships, how do you learn about family? I didn’t know what love was. We weren’t even known by names back then; I was a number … 73.” Image by Daniella Zalcman. Canada, 2015

The Atlantic and Photo+ Magazine recently highlighted photographer and Pulitzer Center grantee Daniella Zalcman's receipt of this year’s FotoEvidence Book Award for her new book Signs of Your Identity.

Zalcman’s book details the lives of indigenous Canadians who were taken from their families by the government and placed in church-run boarding schools, effectively indoctrinating them with Western culture and extinguishing their native traditions.

"Students were punished for speaking their native languages or observing indigenous traditions, physically and sexually assaulted, and in extreme instances subjected to medical experimentation and sterilization," Zalcman told The Atlantic. "At least 6,000 children died while in the system—so many that it was common for residential schools to have their own cemeteries."

For her project, Zalcman used double-exposure portraits, juxtaposing people against sites of the former schools to create meditations on memory and the psychological legacy of the schools.

More information about Zalcman's book is available here.