Qikiqtait Protected Area Development

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. This is an important part of understanding the influence of Sanikiluarmiut knowledge in shaping protected area design and implementation.  

If you are posting on SIKU to the Qikiqtait Project please review this information about how your data is being used.  

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. You can freely download and share all documents posted for non-commercial uses, as long as the authors are credited. Photos cannot be used for any other purposes, without permission from the photographer.


Qikiqtait Protected Area Development (Footage courtesy of Arctic Eider Society, edited by Regena Sinclair)

Flyers and Notices

%d bloggers like this: