Blog / Candice Pedersen & Sarah Rosengard / November 28, 2019
This fall has been a busy time for everyone in the Arctic Eider Society, as we have been preparing for the highly anticipated, official launch of the Indigenous Knowledge Social Network, SIKU.org, this December.
This platform started as a prototype back in 2015 as a joint initiative by community members of Sanikiluaq, Inukjuak, Umiujaq, Kuujjaraapik and Chisasibi. Today, it exists as a website and app for all Inuit communities to access cutting-edge weather, ice and ocean maps, and a safe space for sharing Inuit knowledge about ice, wildlife, travel safety and hunting. Any user can obtain weather forecasts and satellite imagery of ice conditions without having to find the individual web sources separately.
While people were already using Facebook to share hunting stories, these collaborators envisioned a social media platform that archived indigenous knowledge, but unlike a Facebook page, allowed all users to retain the rights to their knowledge. Since then, SIKU has grown into that very platform.
In particular, SIKU brings in Sentinel 1 Radar imagery, critical to assessing ice conditions during the dark winter months or through clouds, Sentinel 2 visual imagery, MODIS, and other imagery as well as derived products that dynamically process Sentinel 1 to assess ice roughness. Most importantly, reports about dangerous ice conditions by local hunters can be made with the app putting Inuit knowledge and observations front and center with weather and remote sensing products.
Created by Inuit for Inuit, SIKU.org continuously evolves as more communities adapt it for their own challenges, interests and priorities. As more people use the platform, it has become a great example of how Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit, science research, and technology can coalesce in one place to benefit communities through sharing of ice dangers and wildlife knowledge to younger generations.
The past three weeks, late October to mid-November, were an especially exciting time span for SIKU.org, as members of Arctic Eider Society traveled to eight communities from the Kitikmeot to Kivalliq regions of Nunavut to demonstrate the platform’s latest features to new users: from hunters to teachers, youth to elders, and college students to wildlife officers.
We are deeply thankful for the insights of each community member that joined us, and for their time spent sharing ways to make SIKU.org better for where they live. The lessons learned these past three weeks reflect the value of implementing SIKU.org in as many different places and seasons as possible. We are excited to turn everyone’s input from this fall into reality by incorporating ice conditions and wildlife names in all the different Inuktut dialects, and fine-tuning the app to better communicate travel dangers during seasons when ice conditions are most unstable.
After SIKU.org launches, we hope to continue growing our partnerships across the Inuit Nunangat, so that all communities may participate in SIKU.org’s ever-evolving development as a platform for self-determination and climate change resilience.
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