Inuvialuit traditional trails

Regions: Inuvialuit Settlement Region

Tags: social sciences, traditional knowledge, mapping, trails

Principal Investigator: Aporta, Claudio (1)
Licence Number: 16186
Organization: Marine Affairs Program, Dalhousie University
Licensed Year(s): 2017
Issued: Nov 09, 2017
Project Team: Jenn Parrott (Field researcher, Inuvialuit Regional Corporation), Cassandra Elliot (Field researcher, Inuvialuit Regional Corporation)

Objective(s): To document Inuit mobility patterns of Inuvialuit; to create a series of regional maps that will show networks of routes connecting the Inuvialuit region, as well as the totality of the Canadian Arctic; to gather further evidence to establish that mobility is a central factor of Inuit occupancy; and, to gather evidence of systematic use of marine, coastal and inland areas.

Project Description: The objectives of this study are:
1. To document Inuit mobility patterns of Inuvialuit;
2. To create a series of regional maps that will show networks of routes connecting the Inuvialuit region, as well as the totality of the Canadian Arctic;
3. To gather further evidence to establish that mobility is a central factor of Inuit occupancy;
4. To gather evidence of systematic use of marine, coastal and inland areas.

This project will rely on a methodological approach developed by the applicant in the context of other projects (Aporta 2009, Krupnik et. al. 2010, Aporta et. al. 2011), consisting in participatory mapping sessions organized as focus groups. The mapping sessions will be conducted by the field researchers (Inuvialuit Regional Corporation –IRC- employees), as part of their community tour in November 2017. Participants will consist of the members from the community corporations, hunters and trappers committee, and elder committees in each community. Participants will be asked to draw well-known routes using markers of different colors (according to a coding system), and to share stories about the routes (which will not be recorded). There will be approximately 16 people participating in each session, divided into smaller groups. The mapping sessions will last between 2 and 4 hours. The maps used will be regional in scale, and the participants will be asked to map summer routes (ATV and walking trails and open water routes), and sled trails on land and ice.

The resulting data will be processed (digitized, geo-referenced, and integrated into a Geographic Information System (GIS) at Dalhousie University. There will be four outcomes of this research: a) a series of regional maps of the Inuvialuit region; b) a Pan Arctic map, which will also include routes mapped in other parts of Arctic Canada; c) publications, including journal articles and a report produced for Senator Charlie Watt; and d) GIS data to be shared with the communities through the IRC.

Participants are expected to be local knowledge holders who are familiar with well-established seasonal routes by sled, ATV, foot or boat near each community. The Community Corporation, Hunters and Trappers Committee, and elder committees will be invited to attend the mapping sessions.

This project is expected to have a number of benefits for participants, community, and the Inuvialuit region. Communities and organizations will receive poster-size paper copies of the maps resulting from the workshops. These maps will be sent within two or four months after the mapping. The maps will show intricate patterns connecting the communities within the Inuvialuit region, as well as to other Inuit communities in the Arctic. These maps are powerful instruments to understand how deeply Inuit are connected to the marine and land areas of the Arctic. From experience in other communities, the maps are also used for educational purposes, as they are unique in showing the extent of Inuit mobility and systematic use of marine areas.

It is important that the community involved have access to all original data, so an agreement will be sought with the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation to house the information in a secure place. Upon project completion, data will remain locally available for future educational, research, or non-commercial uses, according to levels of consent provided by participants.

All the deliverables (maps, GIS data and reports) will be made available to communities through the IRC. Prior to producing the final maps, electronic versions will be made available to contacts in the communities for verification.

The fieldwork for this study will be conducted from November 9, 2017 to December 31, 2017.