“A social media app geared toward the outdoor lives of Inuit launched Wednesday with features that tie traditional knowledge to smartphone technology. The Siku app named after the Inuktitut word for sea ice, allows users to trade observations about dangerous conditions, document wildlife sightings and trade hunting stories… It also allows travellers to add in the traditional terms for potentially perilous conditions using their own language.” The Canadian Press
“The app was created by a team of developers assembled by the Arctic Eider Society, a charity based in Sanikiluaq, Nunavut, and launched at a conference in Halifax on Wednesday.
Joel Heath, the executive director of the society, says the project was born from a desire by Inuit elders to document and share oral history with young people.
Heath said during the launch at the ArcticNet conference that Inuit hunters are out on the ice or land most days gathering food for their communities, and they have unique needs that existing social media like Facebook and Twitter don’t address…Through the app, hunters can upload such information into Siku and tag other areas of interest, such as particular wildlife they’ve tracked.
Safety is among the key attractions of the program, said Heath.
During his presentation, he explained how one hunter testing Siku had placed a triangular warning sign on a map of an ice field near Sanikiluaq in the spring, providing a traditional Inuit term for its dangerous condition.
‘It looks like a normal tidal crack … But he knew the difference that if the wind comes across this kind of crack it can break it open,’ he said.
Hours later, the satellite map showed how the crack had widened enough that Ski-Doos on the wrong side of it wouldn’t be able to return.
‘It shows how [a hunter] taking a few photos and tagging can mobilize Indigenous knowledge,’ said Heath.
The app has four main types of posts: Social, Wildlife, Sea Ice and Tools. There are 80 Arctic species listed under Wildlife, including birds, fish and land animals. Users can make posts that include observations of individuals, groups, tracks, nests and dens, as well as fields such as habitat, diet, body condition and other details about rare or unusual events.
The Social button is where users can post about hunting trips and share photos, tagging them with location and other information.
The project was the winner of the 2017 Google.org Impact Challenge in Canada, bringing $750,000 in funding.”