Banner Photo: Arctic Eider Society
Mapping Sanikiluarmiut Knowledge for Qikiqtait Protected Area Development
2020 – 2022
Funded By: Canada Nature Fund, Northern Scientific Training Program, Canada Research Chairs Program
Photos: Arctic Eider Society, Gita Ljubicic
The Belcher Islands Archipelago in southern Nunavut is composed of culturally, ecologically, and biologically important islands. The Qikiqtait Protected Area project is an Inuit-led conservation program that aims to protect the Belcher Islands and build capacity for a conservation economy in the community of Sanikiluaq, Nunavut. The Qikiqtait Protected Area is the result of extensive work by the Hamlet of Sanikiluaq, the Sanikiluaq Hunters and Trappers Association, and the Arctic Eider Society, in partnership with the Qikiqtani Inuit Association, to add levels of protection to the entire Belcher Islands terrestrial and marine region. The aim of this research project is to contribute meaningfully to Qikiqtait Protected Area planning and community priorities by:
- Supporting the future protection of an ecologically and culturally significant archipelago;
- Exploring methods of weaving Inuit and scientific knowledge together in conservation planning following Inuit methodologies by examining the potential for SIKU (the Indigenous Knowledge Social Network) to support Indigenous governance and conservation initiatives;
- Assisting the planning and implementation of the Qikiqtait Protected Area by adding to a baseline Qikiqtait resource inventory using SIKU data;
- Contributing to the establishment and capacity-building of a conservation economy in Sanikiluaq; and,
- Supporting Inuit self-determination in conservation projects.
Since 2019, Sanikiluarmiut (people of Sanikiluaq) hunters, harvesters, and environmental monitors have been collecting data on important species on the islands through SIKU. This project will investigate how Sanikiluarmiut monitoring data can be used to meet the Qikiqtait Protected Area Committee priorities. In this project we will assess the capacity of SIKU data to support Inuit-led protected area design. It will contribute to the Qikiqtait Protected Area resource inventory by mapping and analyzing SIKU data and comparing how this resource inventory data aligns with Qikiqtait management priorities. The results of this analysis will be compared to the Nunavut Coastal Resources Inventory participatory mapping project to further review the capacity of SIKU to develop a resource inventory. This is an important part of understanding the influence of Sanikiluarmiut knowledge in shaping protected area design and implementation.
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