Built for the iron-ore mining industry’s activities, the Sept-Îles-Schefferville Railway in Quebec, faced an uncertain future when the mines closed in the early 1980s. No longer in need of much of its infrastructure in Schefferville, the Iron Ore Company of Canada (IOC) dismantled much of what it had built. Now useless to the Company, the northernmost portion of the railway remained essential for the residents of this otherwise fly-in community. In 2005, the Innu and Naskapi nations on either end of the railway, took over its management.
Now called Tshiuetin, Innu for “wind of the north”, it employs a staff made up of 85% First Nations people. This railroad, created by and for the destructive forces of heavy industry, now serves the people it once exploited. It’s become a symbol of resilience and self-determinism.
Chloë Ellingson is a Toronto-based documentary photographer. Wind of the North is part of a larger exploration into what was left out of a dominant national narrative espoused and created by her family throughout their five generations in Canada. She regularly contributes to publications such as The Walrus and The Globe and Mail. Her personal work has been featured in the British Journal of Photography, on CNN, in the Toronto Star, and exhibited at the Toronto Harbourfront Centre.