An app, created by and for Inuit communities, is enabling users in the Arctic to share information about dangerous conditions, wildlife sightings and hunting stories – documenting changes to the environment due to climate change.
The mobile app and web platform, SIKU: The Indigenous Knowledge Social Network, provides tools for weather, ice safety and hunting stories as well as knowledge transfer and language preservation.
SIKU puts Indigenous Knowledge and observations front and centre alongside weather and safety services, including sea ice products, tides, marine forecasts, and satellite imagery. This lets hunters share dangerous and changing ice conditions with their communities using their own language and knowledge systems.
Launched last year by the charity Arctic Eider Society, SIKU includes profiles for wildlife, sea ice and traditional places in multiple dialects that are taggable and act as living wikis of Indigenous knowledge. Using the mobile app while on the land, posts, such as hunting stories and GPS tracks can be recorded and uploaded to SIKU when hunters are back in the community.
SIKU technology was inspired by groups like ‘Inuit hunting stories of the day’, community-driven research programmes and a desire by elders to document and share oral history with youth.
Lucassie Arragutainaq, Manager of the Sanikiluaq Hunters and Trappers Association, said: “SIKU is helping Inuit document the changes to our environment, especially our sea ice, which is changing rapidly because of climate change. It allows us to document these changes very accurately, including our wildlife, which we actively hunt every day. It is particularly important for our youth.”
The Arctic Eider Society partnered with various companies to create SIKU, which was instigated after winning $750,000 in the 2017 Google.org Impact Challenge in Canada.
Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief. She writes about lifestyle including sustainable and green living.