Inuit sharing ancient knowledge of ice, sea and land with new app


A societal media app geared toward the outdoor lives of Inuit launched Wednesday with quirks that tie traditional knowledge to smartphone technology. 

The Siku app and web platform, styled after the Inuktitut word for sea ice, allows users to trade observations involving dangerous conditions, document wildlife sightings and trade hunting yarns.

It also integrates modern weather, sea ice and satellite imagery, while allowing trippers to add in the traditional terms for potentially perilous conditions using their own phrasing.

The app was created by a team of developers assembled by the Arctic Eider Society, a kind-heartedness based in Sanikiluaq, Nunavut, and launched at a conference in Halifax on Wednesday.

Joel Heath, the president director of the society, says the project was born from a desire by Inuit elder statesmen to document and share oral history with young people.

We’re facsimile what our parents used to do, but in modern ways.– Lucassie Arragutainaq, trackers and trappers association

Lucassie Arragutainaq, manager of the Sanikiluaq Hunters and Trappers Camaraderie, says “we’re copying what our parents used to do, but in modern ways.”

Heath state during the launch at the ArcticNet conference that Inuit hunters are out on the ice or alight most days gathering food for their communities, and they play a joke on unique needs that existing social media like Facebook and Warbling don’t address.

Inuit sharing ancient knowledge of ice, sea and land with new app
The hamlet of Sanikiluaq, Nunavut. The app integrates modern weather, sea ice and disciple imagery, while allowing travellers to add in the traditional terms for potentially hazardous conditions using their own language. (Google Canada)

Arragutainaq reproached an audience of several hundred that after trips around the ice of his community in Hudson Bay, huntswomen would convey to others what they’d seen and where it was uninjured to travel on foot or Ski-Doo.

He quoted Peter Kattuk, a hunter who died recently, estimate, “It’s time for the harpoon and the computer to work together,” referring to how hunters bequeath often test ice with harpoons.

Through the app, hunters can upload such facts into Siku and tag other areas of interest, such as particular wildlife they’ve hunt down.

Dangerous conditions

Safety is among the key attractions of the program, said Heath.

During his production, he explained how one hunter testing Siku had placed a triangular warning colophon on a map of an ice field near Sanikiluaq in the spring, providing a traditional Inuit sitting for its dangerous condition.

“It looks like a normal tidal crack … But he comprehended the difference that if the wind comes across this kind of time … It can break it open,” he said.

Hours later, the satellite map showed how the split had widened enough that Ski-Doos on the wrong side of it wouldn’t be expert to return.

“It shows how [a hunter] taking a few photos and tagging can mobilize Endemic knowledge,” said Heath.

Inuit sharing ancient knowledge of ice, sea and land with new app
A file photo of Joel Heath, of the Arctic Eider The public. (Google Canada/Aaron Brindle)

The app has four main types of props: Social, Wildlife, Sea Ice and Tools.

There are 80 Arctic species listed guardianship Wildlife, including birds, fish and land animals. Users can coerce posts that include observations of individuals, groups, tracks, roosts and dens, as well as fields such as habitat, diet, body inure and other details about rare or unusual events.

The Social button is where alcohols can post about hunting trips and share photos, tagging them with fingers on and other information.

Sea Ice provides users with the ability to report on conditions, while the Vehicle button provides options to capture data with scientific contraptions, such as an ice core or water sample.

The project was the winner of the 2017 Collide with Challenge in Canada, bringing $750,000 in funding.

Siku is available as an online tenets at, while the mobile app runs on Android and iOS.

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