While we promote traditional forms of Inuit learning, we realize that we live in a rapidly changing world. Cultural knowledge is disappearing with the loss of Elder generations, and the breakdown of oral strategies for knowledge transmission. This coincides with an era in which Inuit are increasingly choosing to interact through virtual means. We see the mass embracement of digital technology as an opportunity to communicate and maintain culture, language and knowledge through social networks, on-line databases, and software developed specifically for this purpose.
We are dedicated to creating a successful merger between the ‘digital’ and ‘traditional’ to change how cultural knowledge is learned, stored, and transmitted throughout the Arctic. We are committed to developing digital platforms capable of meaningfully integrating cultural knowledge. We collaborate with a variety of universities, developers and museums to host workshops about the on-line future of Inuit culture, and to create new tools that allow Inuit more access to cultural information and materials.
We have been developing digital applications for the preservation and transmission of Inuinnait knowledge for over a decade. Our initiatives are concerned with making the knowledge recorded during Inuinnait research projects available, and digitally returning the Inuinnait knowledge stored in institutional collections around the world. Over the last decade, we have worked in partnership with the Geomatics and Cartographic Research Centre at Carleton University to produce a series of Inuit Knowledge Atlases. These digital atlases are designed to facilitate transmission and preservation of traditional knowledge in Inuit communities. They are built with a flexible open-source platform called Nunaliit and are designed specifically for use in the North. These platforms are an experiment in designing new ways for Inuit to access and gain ownership of cultural, historical and geographical knowledge through a range of media formats.
Click on the icons below to view atlases and digital projects:
THE INUIT PLACE NAMES ATLAS
The Inuit Place Names Atlas crowdsources traditional place names from multiple communities across Nunavut. It allows users to navigate place names alongside audio, video and photosphere documentation of the locations. Users can suggest edits and modifications to existing place names, as well as contribute information of their own.
THE FIFTH THULE EXPEDITION ATLAS
Between 1921-24, the Danish 5th Thule Expedition travelled across the Canadian Arctic to document the culture, language, stories, songs, and material objects of the Inuit who lived there. This Atlas provides access to the documents, photos and objects collected by the Expedition in order to facilitate the revitalization of the Inuit knowledge that they contain.
THE KITIKMEOT PLACE NAME ATLAS
This interactive Atlas allows users to navigate the Kitikmeot Region of Nunavut and learn about the traditional Inuktitut and Inuinnaqtun place names for its geographic features. The Atlas was developed based on interviews with Elders and hunters in the Kitikmeot communities of Kugaaruk, Gjoa Haven, Cambridge Bay and Kugluktuk.
In partnership with Dr. Kumiko Murasugi, School of Linguistics and Language Studies, Carleton University, the PI/KHS has developed an online tool where specialists can collaborate by entering vocabulary as well as related multimedia.
DOCUMENTING THE LANDSCAPE
In August 2015, we collaborated on an innovative heritage-recording research project intended to investigate the potential that 360 ̊ or ‘photosphere’ photography has for recording and communicating Inuit place-based knowledge.
In 2019, we began collaborating with Reel Youth to build capacity in local Cambridge Bay youth, and our own staff team, to direct and produce short films. Through the medium of film, we're capturing traditional knowledge interviews with Elders and documenting programs and cultural workshops.