The Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs, the Firelight Group, Google, and the University of Victoria will welcome more than 100 mappers to Victoria, August 25-28, for a 4-day Indigenous Mapping Workshop.

The workshop aims to explores critical approaches to geospatial technologies and indigenous mapping. Geospatial technologies can illustrate the close relationship between Indigenous communities and their land, enabling Indigenous communities to tell their own stories, in their own languages, from their own perspectives. Increasingly, Indigenous peoples have utilized geospatial technologies to defend and claim ancestral lands, manage natural resources, plan economic development, and preserve their cultures.

Representing more than 40 First Nations, Metis and Inuit communities, community-based mapping practitioners, and university-based researchers from across Canada, the workshop will further define the future of Indigenous mapping in Canada. The conference will involve a dynamic mix of Indigenous mapping presentations by leading experts, participant organized panel presentations, networking opportunities, and training in using and applying Google’s mapping technologies, such as Google Earth, Google Maps, Google APIs, and Google Earth Engine, to support and express Traditional Knowledge.

The integration, communication, and interpretation of Traditional Knowledge into geospatial technologies highlight the necessity for technologies to be culturally appropriate, sensitive to the processes that contextualize data collection, and community controlled. The partnership between Google, the Firelight Group, United British Columbia Indian Chiefs, and the University of Victoria aims to empower First Nations capacities in a culturally appropriate and sensitive way, emphasizing the intrinsic interconnectedness of Indigenous peoples, culture, and land via a participatory, holistic, and iterative process.

For questions, please contact imwcanada@earthoutreach.org.