Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

Thesis Format

Integrated Article


Master of Arts




Hodgetts, Lisa M


Many Indigenous communities are mobilizing to document and share their traditional knowledge and cultural heritage.  Information technology has created new opportunities for Indigenous communities, archaeologists, heritage groups, and technologists to collaborate on digital strategies to meet these objectives.  Every Indigenous community has a unique history and world view, so the use of these digital approaches must be tailored to the needs of each case.  The Inuvialuit are the Inuit of the Western Arctic, and their traditional knowledge is practiced through land-based activities such as hunting and fishing.   The spatial nature of these activities has good potential to be represented in an interactive Google Earth map in a way that uniquely aligns with Inuvialuit epistemology and worldviews.   This paper discusses the effectiveness, benefits, challenges, and implications of using Google Earth for the documentation and intergenerational sharing of Inuvialuit traditional knowledge and cultural heritage

Summary for Lay Audience

The purpose of this research project was to gather input from the Inuvialuit community on how best to design an interactive Google Earth map that could be used to document and share Inuvialuit traditional knowledge and skills. Inuvialuit community members felt that a Google Earth map would be an excellent way to link photographs, videos, and stories about traditional activities to the actual places on the land where they occurred. Such a map such would closely resemble the mental maps that many Inuvialuit carry in their heads, which reflect their ways of knowing the world. A Google Earth map also appealed to Inuvialuit youth who saw its potential to help them to learn more about their cultural history and heritage. The interactive visual and auditory properties of Google Earth can mirror traditional approaches to Inuvialuit learning that emphasize listening and observation in addition to hands-on experience.

These research findings will be used by the Inuvialuit Living History project to construct a map that will be added to the Inuvialuit Living History Website (www.inuvialuitlivinghistory.ca) which will help to share this important cultural information with all Inuvialuit, and with other Canadians who want to learn about Inuvialuit history and traditions.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.