Digital Mapping of Inuvialuit Archaeology & Heritage

Regions: Inuvialuit Settlement Region

Tags: social sciences, archaeology

Principal Investigator: Hodgetts, Lisa M (2)
Licence Number: 16332
Organization: Western University
Licenced Year(s): 2018
Issued: Jun 18, 2018
Project Team: Jeff Grieve (Student Researcher, Western University )

Objective(s): To solicit input from the Inuvialuit community on how best to structure the interactive digital map to create meaningful virtual representations of archaeological sites and associated heritage information.

Project Description: The project will solicit input from the Inuvialuit community on how best to structure the interactive digital map to create meaningful virtual representations of archaeological sites and associated heritage information. It will pose the following questions to a wide range of adult and high school aged community members:

1. What types of information should be displayed in the map?
2. Who are the most important audiences for these different types of information?
3. What types of digital representation should be used to convey different types of information (eg. Places, objects, activities) within the map?
4. Who should have access to which types of information on the map? Are there specific types of information that should only be accessible to certain users?

This information will be used to determine which digital tools can most effectively serve these ends, and what information should be shared with which audiences within the context of the digital interactive map.

There are two ethnographic components to this study: 1) focus group discussions and 2) semi-structured interviews with Inuvialuit community members. These interactions will occur in two specific communities in the Inuvialuit Settlement Region (ISR); Inuvik and Tuktoyaktuk.

Grieve will visit the East Three Secondary School in Inuvik either in June or in September, whichever is more convenient for the School. During this visit, Grieve will provide an introductory presentation to students and teachers at the school on the Inuvialuit Living History project, Inuvialuit archaeology and heritage, and digital mapping using Google Earth. At the end of the presentation, Grieve will invite interested students and teachers to participate in two separate one hour focus group discussions to probe further into particular requirements and concerns, with regard to the design and construction of a digital map of Inuvialuit archaeology and heritage. The student focus group will be comprised ideally of 6-8 students from grades 10-12. If there are additional students who are interested in participating, a second focus group session will be organized. One focus group will be comprised of students ideally from grades 10-12. The second focus group will be comprised of teachers and other representatives from the Inuvialuit Cultural Center or Parks Canada who may be involved in education and outreach activities. During these focus groups Grieve will provide individuals with prototype digital map of archaeological and heritage information and ask participants to reflect on their interactive experience in virtually visiting sample sites in this map. Participants will be able to provide input on how best to structure the information on the map, what types of information should be displayed, and who should have access to different kinds of information.

While in Inuvik, Grieve will also give a public presentation at the local library and/or community center. Following this presentation, Grieve will solicit a maximum of 25 semi-structured interviews with interested Inuvialuit adult community members who attended in the presentation. These interviews will ask participants questions related to their use of maps, and solicit their opinions on the types of information content that should or should not be incorporated into a map of archaeology and heritage in the ISR and how it should be presented.

Grieve will also travel to Tuktoyaktuk to repeat the school based activities at the Mangilaluk School and the public activities at the community center (Kitti Hall). This will elicit a broader cross section of perspectives.

Grieve will also attend the Great Northern Arts Festival in Inuvik in July. This festival brings together artisans from throughout the ISR to display their art and participate in workshops. The project will have a booth set up at this festival with information about the broader digital mapping project. Grieve will engage with interested persons at the Festival about the prototype digital map of Inuvialuit archaeology and heritage.

The project is a partnership between Western University, the Inuvialuit Cultural Centre (ICC), the Inuvialuit Communications Society, Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre and Parks Canada. The project vision, developed collaboratively by representatives from all of the participating institutions states: "The project aims to expand and rework the Inuvialuit Living History Website ( to create a lasting resource that Inuvialuit, other Canadians and everyone can draw on to learn, share and teach about Inuvialuit history and culture. It will provide increased access for Inuvialuit to their cultural objects held in southern repositories, share Inuvialuit and archaeological knowledge of the human history of the entire ISR from earliest times to the present, and reflect and reinforce the pride Inuvialuit feel in their culture and their strong bond with the land. By sharing the teachings of Inuvialuit Elders, and sparking the interest of Inuvialuit youth it will work to counter the effects of structural racism that flow from their experience of colonialism, and thereby contribute to the reconciliation between Inuvialuit and Canada."

The results of this research and requests for community input and feedback on preliminary research results will be disseminated to the communities in a variety of ways. The results will be presented during community meetings in Inuvik and a summary of the results will be made available to interested parties on the website for the Inuvialuit Living History Project ( through blog updates or on a page dedicated to the research. The Inuvialuit Living History Project publishes a biannual newsletter, which is distributed to all the ISR communities and shared electronically through the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation social media outlets. The results of this research will be shared in the newsletter. Finally, past experience suggests that the research will be of interest to northern media outlets. The research team will take every opportunity to solicit feedback and disseminate the results through TV, radio and print media. All participants will have access to the finished Masters dissertation through a link provided to them upon completion. Any named and/or quoted interview participants will be given the opportunity to approve whether, how, and in what context their quoted statements appear in the final products. With participants’ permission, copies of the interviews will be kept on file at the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation's (IRC) Inuvialuit Cultural Resource Centre (ICRC).

A set of recommendations for principles and best practices will be synthesized from community feedback and the research results that will be used by the Inuvialuit History project team to add further content before incorporating the final version of the interactive digital map into the Inuvialuit Living History website.

The fieldwork for this study will be conducted from June 15, 2018 to September 24, 2018.