Traditional Knowledge, 21C Tech

Curated Story
Joel Heath
This article originally appeared on Ashoka Canada

The Inuit are the population most impacted by climate change in the Arctic. And yet, their traditional knowledge systems, dating back millennia, are most often excluded from environmental stewardship efforts in the region, which until recently prioritized Eurocentric scientific research methods.

The Solution: With his colleagues at the Arctic Eider Society, Joel Heath has created SIKU: The Indigenous Knowledge Social Network, which mobilizes traditional knowledge and environmental terminology to facilitate Indigenous-driven solutions for — and strategies to mitigate — climate change in the North. The result? New opportunities for local conservation economies, with Inuit self-determination at their core.

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Ashoka insight

In a region where jobs are scarce, SIKU is also creating space for a new, local conservation economy. Imagine, for example, a southern university hiring 50 Inuit hunters to gather and track data on ice conditions or caribou migration patterns through their mobile phones. Younger Inuit, says Joel, are uniquely positioned to work within the contexts of both cutting-edge technologies and their Elders’ language, stories and knowledge systems.