Passed down from generation to generation, Traditional Knowledge includes spirituality, beliefs, customs, languages, oral history, land use, and social relationships. Traditional Knowledge and Land Use (TKLU) studies are vital to environmental assessment processes and are, more importantly, tools for documenting and sharing this knowledge with future generations.
We approach each TKLU study with a deep respect for cultural knowledge. We understand the importance of place and try to integrate land-based knowledge mapping whenever appropriate. We invite community members to join our project teams to directly participate in interviews and run workshops to train other community members on how to continue this work in the future.
We design and facilitate TKLU studies in collaboration with Indigenous communities. From organizing, conducting, and transcribing interviews, to processing audio-visual material and mapping data, we work with you to manage every step of the process.
What We Offer
- Project design
- Valued ecological component identification
- Interview development
- Oral history interviews and transcription
- Digital mapping
- Audio-video recording
- Map preparation
- Report writing
- Presentations to stakeholders
Inuit Oral History of the Franklin Expedition
In 2018, Know History was engaged by Parks Canada to document Inuit oral histories of the 1845 Franklin Expedition and Traditional Knowledge of the land, sea, and ice around the sites of the Franklin shipwrecks (HMS Erebus and HMS Terror). We travelled to Uqsuqtuuq (Gjoa Haven), Nunavut, on three occasions, along with Lead Interviewer Edna Elias (former Commissioner of Nunavut) and videographer Curtis Konek (Konek Productions, Arviat), to conduct mapping interviews with community Knowledge Holders.
We worked closely with: a community liaison, who coordinated the interviews and advertised the project for us; the Nattilik Heritage Centre, for advice on who to speak with and the use of interview space; local interpreters, who supported Elders by allowing them to be interviewed in their own language; and community youth, who helped with videography, photography, and interviews.
We also hosted an oral history planning workshop for youth who are interested in capturing the stories of their Elders. On our second trip, we had the privilege of traveling by boat to Terror Bay, where HMS Terror lies, and spending two nights on the land with a group of Elders, Inuit Guardians, and youth.
Whether inside the Heritage Centre, in a tent, or beside the ocean, Knowledge Holders shared stories with us about their Homeland and Inuit contact with European explorers. They took the time to carefully map out traditional travel routes, sites of cultural importance, and harvesting areas.
On our final visit to the community, we provided Knowledge Holders with video copies of their interviews on both USB and DVD, and a copy of their maps. The oral history and Traditional Knowledge recordings, maps, and archival documents collected for this project will be stored at the Nattilik Heritage Centre for future community use, and will add to the Franklin exhibit material already on display there. Know History also researched and wrote a book using the data collected, which tells the story of the Franklin Expedition from the perspective of Inuit, to be published in 2021.