GEM-2 Grant Recipients (Multidisciplinary Projects)

2016 to 2017

Grant recipients are listed in alphabetical order.

Behdzi Ahda First Nation Traditional Knowledge and GEM Data Workshop – Relating Traditional Knowledge Data to Data Collected Through the GEM Phase II Mackenzie Project

Proponent: Behdzi Ahda First Nation

The framework for the project first commenced in 2015, in Colville Lake where a GIS training program was given for nine band members.  These band members are now familiar with GIS, geospatial data and analysis.  Since the training, a team has subsequently digitized Traditional Knowledge data collected by elders on hard copy maps of Behdzi Ahda First Nation’s traditional territory. It is Behdzi Ahda First Nation’s intention to build on this work and facilitate its band members to be more familiar with GEM data and how it can be used to augment and better develop a more robust Traditional Knowledge database.

Objectives: The Behdzi Ahda First Nation, whose traditional territory overlaps the Colville Hills mapping area, proposed to host a workshop in Colville Lake for community members and members of other Sahtu Region communities to examine how geologic data can be related to Traditional Knowledge data. The data generated through the GEM-2 Mackenzie Project will generate exploration interest. The Behdzi Ahda First Nation wants all communities in the region to be as prepared as possible to make land-use and resource-based decisions, and believe that familiarization with GEM data, especially in relation to Traditional Knowledge, are crucial

Benefits to Canada: Colville Lake’s and the Sahtu Region’s economy will continue to be shaped by the natural resource and geoscience sector. The Behdzi Ahda First Nation’s Traditional Knowledge and GEM Data Workshop will serve to educate band members and others in the Sahtu Region about GEM/geoscience data and natural resources, and how this information could be integrated with Traditional Knowledge, and used to make land-use based decisions. Given Canada’s interest in stimulating resource development in the North, the provision of culturally appropriate training can help develop the necessary workforce that addresses industry’s growing demand for human resources in the Sahtu Region and Northwest Territories. In turn, greater industrial activity will provide the region with greater social and economic benefits.

Use of GEM data to provide Inuvialuit community organisations with a tool to enhance decision making regarding mineral exploration and development in the Inuvialuit Settlement Region

Proponent: Inuvialuit Regional Corporation

The Inuvialuit Regional Corporation (IRC) is established as the organization to represent the Inuvialuit and to take ownership of Inuvialuit lands, as per the Inuvialuit Final Agreement (IFA). IRC’s mission is to ensure the socio-economic condition of the Inuvialuit is maintained or enhanced. Traditionally, exploration for Mackenzie delta gas and Beaufort Sea oil has dominated the economic potential of the region; however, due to recent developments related to enhanced potential of United States shale gas, the decline in global oil prices, and other factors, over the short to medium term, the petroleum industry does not represent a viable option for economic activity in the region. As a result, IRC is focussing greater attention on the minerals sector in an effort to generate new sources of employment for Inuvialuit.

Objectives: The objective/purpose of this Project is to help encourage responsible mineral development activity in the Inuvialuit Settlement Region (ISR). To help improve the regional economies of Inuvialuit communities, through the possible development of mineral-related projects, IRC will augment an existing available online tool, with GEM and other geoscience data, and travel to local communities to educate Inuvialuit residents and organisations about its utilization.

Benefits to Canada: Establishing a more robust mineral development industry in the ISR will serve to reinforce the Inuvialuit Final Agreement (i.e., facilitate aboriginal empowerment and participation in critical mineral development/land-use decisions), and Canada’s reputation as a world leader in mineral development.

GIS to Integrate Traditional Knowledge with GEM Results Workshop

Proponent: Kitikmeot Inuit Association

Background: The Kitikmeot Inuit Association (KIA) has been developing an Inuit Traditional Knowledge (TK) database of the Kitikmeot Region of Nunavut. This dataset is used to capture knowledge of the region and to assist with decisions related to resources and land-use. These decisions are becoming increasingly important as more and more interest in the region is generated through the success of exploration projects in the area and increase in availability of government geoscience data and knowledge generated through programs such as the GEM-2. As such, the KIA feels there will be a benefit to Nunavummiut if there was a better understanding of how TK data could be integrated with geoscience data.

Objectives: The purpose of this project is to deliver a 2 week GIS course which will examine how TK can be integrated with GEM data using the Qaujisarnik Nunamik Education Program (QNEP) as a platform. The QNEP is an introductory GIS course developed through funding from GEM which familiarizes students with GEM data so they have a better understanding of how geoscience knowledge can be incorporated into day-to-day community-related land use based decision-making through a series of culturally and environmentally relevant lessons.

Benefits to Canada:  There is a clear link between the release of geoscience data and subsequent exploration activity. The dramatic increase in spending by major and junior mining companies demonstrates strong interest in Nunavut’s resources. Nunavut’s economy is expected to depend greatly on the natural resource and geoscience sector for the foreseeable future which will create employment opportunities. By educating Nunavummiut on issues related to the geoscience and resource sector, especially in relation to TK, a ready workforce is created in the territory to respond to the current and future industry needs. A ready workforce will allow industry to continue to grow and bring economic and social benefits to Nunavut.

Sahtú Nę́nę́ Náoweré – Sharing Knowledge of the Land in the Sahtú Region (Phase II)

Proponent: Ɂehdzo Got’ı̨nę Gots’ę́ Nákedı / Sahtú Renewable Resources Board

Background: As defined in the Sahtú Dene and Métis Comprehensive Land Claim Agreement (SDMCLCA), the Proponent has a mandate to support collaborative scientific and Traditional Knowledge (TK) research in order to assist the co-management of wildlife, habitat and harvesting within the Sahtú region. The Proponent has developed momentum and a reputation for providing sound technical expertise and support for community initiatives that strengthen traditional knowledge inputs and decision making related to wildlife, habitat and harvesting. In 2015, the Proponent embarked on a Community Mapping Initiative and created an online atlas specifically designed for community use. 

Objectives: The objective of this Project is to expand the existing GEM component of the online Sahtú Atlas to further geoscience and TK cross-cultural interpretations as a basis for decision-making. The Project will further the collection and collation of spatial geological datasets, accommodate the inclusion of enhanced interactive multimedia, and support the further incorporation of Sahtú Dene/Métis landscape knowledge in those areas of past/potential mineral and petroleum development. The Project will pilot multigenerational collaboration between Dene/Métis students and knowledge holders, and provide a new educational component for Sahtú teachers and students.

Benefits to Canada: The Project proposes an innovative approach to bring together TK and geoscience that will support land use and development planning while building public awareness of relationships between geoscience and TK. The application of a user-friendly mapping tool for schools and communities will facilitate knowledge sharing in a way that is adapted to the needs of Northerners.


2015 to 2016

Grant recipients are listed in alphabetical order.

Integrating GEM Geological Maps and Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit (Inuit Traditional Knowledge) into Kivalliq Inuit Association’s Web Mapping Application

Proponent: Kivalliq Inuit Association

Background: In July of 1993, with the signing of the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement, Inuit have become owners of vast areas of Land. In the Kivalliq Region, on the western side of Hudson Bay, this area includes a total of 37,132 squares miles of surface land, and 5,040 square miles of subsurface land, including minerals. KIA Lands administer Inuit Owned Lands on behalf of all Inuit so as to promote the principle of self-reliance and the cultural and social well-being of Inuit now and in the future. Inuit Owned Lands must be managed in such a way as to sustain and enhance the value of these lands. To support these objectives, the KIA has developed the KIA Web Mapping Application, which allows users to view various data layers on the map, view the source information associated with them, and generate detailed reports for defined spatial areas.

Objectives: The primary objective of this project is to further develop and upgrade the KIA Web Mapping Application by incorporating Inuit Traditional Knowledge (IQ) data, GEM (Geo-mapping for Energy and Minerals Program) geoscience data and knowledge, and water monitoring data in order to support informed decision making and management of Inuit Owned Lands in Nunavut. Improvements to the Application functionality include the development of Decision Support System reporting tools, identifying any available GEM geological studies, IQ data, along with data pertinent to any environmental issues on Inuit Owned Lands, based on the spatial extent of existing and proposed land use and water use licenses; mining and other engineering developments and camps; and proposed road and pipeline routes.

Benefits to Canada: Northerners gain access to the data and knowledge generated by GEM and IQ from various sources in a more interactive and interoperability way. GIS and GIS-related information is an effective and powerful tool for land and resource planning when easy access to geospatial data can be provided to all end users. This web page serves as a resource for students, teachers, and communities interested in the geology of Nunavut to identify where and what has been done in terms of geoscience mapping and research. This mapping tool is also used to meet the legal requirements and obligations contained within the Nunavut Land Claim Agreement and other legal statutes and instruments regarding to land management, impacting a large number of Nunavummiut.

2016 Qaujisarniq Nunamik Education Program Train-the-Trainer Course

Proponent: Nunavut Arctic College

Background: In 2012, 2014 and 2015, data and knowledge derived from the Geo-mapping for Energy and Minerals (GEM) Program were incorporated into the Fundamentals of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Module of the Environmental Technology Program (ETP) at Nunavut Arctic College’s Iqaluit facility. The upgraded module, called the Qaujisarnik Nunamik Education Program (QNEP), is usually taught over a three week period, in a full-time class room setting. The QNEP is designed to familiarize students with GEM and geoscience data so they have a better understanding of how this knowledge can be incorporated into day-to-day community-related land use based decision-making, while simultaneously teaching GIS concepts through a series of culturally and environmentally relevant lessons. The greatest limitation to QNEP’s expansion is the number of qualified instructors in the territory, as course delivery is currently reliant on qualified instructors from the South.

Objectives: The primary objective of this project is to develop and deliver the QNEP “Train-the-Trainer” course to Nunavummiut who are currently qualified GIS users, creating the opportunity for local Nunavut-based GIS users to learn the skills and information necessary to teach the QNEP course. The “Train-the-Trainer” course therefore maximizes the use of GEM data and knowledge by Nunavummiut, increase Nunavut’s GIS technical capacity (e.g., increase access to a culturally and environmentally relevant GIS course), and increase capacity in Nunavut by training future teachers who can disseminate GEM knowledge to other Nunavummiut. The course took place in March 2016 at Arctic College, bringing together eight participants and two instructors. The participants reported a significant increase in their GIS teaching skills, and an interest in teaching the course in their respective communities.

Benefits to Canada: Training and educating Nunavummiut on issues related to the geoscience and natural resources support the creation of a capable workforce, ready to respond to current and future industry needs. The QNEP “Train-the-Trainer” course increases capacity amongst the Nunavummiut workforce to deliver the QNEP across the territory, which in turn creates learning opportunities which develop technical literacy and interest among Nunavummiut in geological mapping tools and technology, and enhances awareness and interest among Nunavummiut in training and career opportunities in Nunavut’s geoscience industry. The 2016 QNEP “Train-the-Trainer” course resulted in eight new GIS teachers from across Nunavut and plans for future QNEP courses in communities outside of Iqaluit.

Sahtú Nę́nę́ Náoweré – Sharing Knowledge of the Land in the Sahtú Region

Proponent: Ɂehdzo Got’ı̨nę Gots’ę́ Nákedı / Sahtú Renewable Resources Board

Background: This project complements and enhances the Sahtú Community Mapping Initiative (CMI), which was first initiated in 2013, and was focused on utilizing spatial data to develop a tool useful to Sahtú communities, researchers, and their resource management partners. A recent review of the Sahtú Renewable Resources Board’s (SRRB) spatial knowledge project determined that while many Traditional Knowledge (TK) spatial datasets relating to the Sahtú region have been included (i.e. research materials from harvest, cultural and wildlife and habitat studies), existing geoscience data is missing and needs to be incorporated.

Objectives: The purposes of this project are to: compile and integrate existing GEM (Geo-mapping for Energy and Minerals Program) data and Sahtú Dene/Métis landscape Traditional Knowledge (TK) into the online Sahtú Atlas; create a new knowledge tool that incorporates cross-cultural interpretations of geoscience and TK and, through workshops, promote its application in land-use and resource development decision-making; and provide training to community members, teachers and students in the use of GEM and TK data in the Sahtú Atlas and as a potential education tool. Twenty-four workshops and meetings were held across the Sahtú region in March 2016 to share improvements in the online Atlas, giving community members the opportunity to explore the new geoscience information in a way that best suits their needs, at their own pace.

Benefits to Canada: The Project fosters greater awareness, knowledge and skills in resource management amongst Sahtú communities and regional and cross-regional resource management organizations. Linking GEM geological data and information with critical TK serves to enhance and expands its application and utilization amongst Northerners, contributing to better land use planning and development planning. This project resulted in enhanced cross-cultural knowledge and stronger relationships between communities and geoscience specialists, as well as the active involvement of Northerners in the development of user-friendly digital mapping tools.

Mapping Mining and Energy Development Probability in the Teslin Tlingit Council Traditional Territory

Proponent: Teslin Tlingit Council

Background: The Teslin Tlingit Council (TTC) is a self‐governing First Nation, whose Traditional Territory spans the Yukon-British Columbia border. As stewards, managers, and law makers, TTC requires the best possible information about the land and the numerous values that overlay it in order to make responsible, productive decisions regarding sustainable renewable and non‐renewable resource use and development. The development of appropriate tools that assist with this internal decision making process is a key TTC priority, as is providing a model for neighboring First Nation governments and other regions in the North.

Objectives: The purpose of this project is to develop a digital map of mining and energy development probability that helps inform and better support land and resources decisions. This digital product results from the synthesis and analysis of a number of mineral and energy related data layers, including GEM (Geo-mapping for Energy and Minerals Program) data, along with other spatial layers that influence mining potential, all of which are enhanced with local knowledge. A map layer depicting mineral and energy production potential can be more easily assessed against other values, such as wildlife values which are often depicted as habitat potential. Some of the major benefits associated with development of such a tool are expected to include: informing northern land use planning throughout the Traditional Territory at regional and local area scales in the Yukon and BC; enabling meaningful dialogue between TTC, industry, and other governments regarding sustainable mineral exploration and development work, and encouraging responsible economic development; informing cumulative effects assessment throughout the Traditional Territory, and, more broadly, the environmental and socio-economic assessment processes on both sides of the border, and; supporting risk assessment for TTC as it relates to Final Agreement and asserted Aboriginal Rights, including Title, remaining meaningful over time. In developing the tool, it became rapidly clear that an adaptable and query-able database would be better able to support evolving input data, instead of the development of static maps. This more dynamic approach has provided a broader framework for regional land use planning in the Teslin Tlingit region, and has achieved and improved upon the original project objectives.

Benefits to Canada: This project provides a tool to assess mining and energy potential in southern Yukon and northern British Columbia in relation to numerous other values, which is critical to increasing certainty in the resource sector for industry, territorial/provincial governments, and First Nation Governments. This tool would be easily replicable for other regions across the North that face similar intersections of resource development and Aboriginal interests and values. In creating an immediately implementable, yet adaptable, tool, the TTC has provided an accessible and dynamic resource for First Nations in the North.

Bridging the Data Divide: Engaging Northerners through Innovative Software Tools for Participatory Knowledge Sharing and GEM Data Mobilization

Proponent: University of Western Ontario

Background: The University of Western Ontario has designed a data mobilization tool that endeavors to make cutting edge, “Big Data” analytics easy to use and accessible to non-expert users. The enhancement of Northern human capital, through better access to scientific data, facilitates more fulsome participation in the exploration, utilization and protection of Canada’s North, which in turn should yield socio-economic gains and benefits. While the latter is deemed of critical importance to Northern economic development, very little work has been done to try to incorporate and integrate the totality of Indigenous ethics and traditional knowledge with scientific data in a way that allows both types of knowledge to co-exist and complement one another.

Objectives: This project, to be led by the University of Western Ontario working in conjunction with Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK), focuses on staging a two-day workshop, that investigates how advanced software analytics can be used to foster participatory knowledge sharing and data mobilization amongst northern communities (including better uptake of baseline GEM (Geo-mapping for Energy and Minerals Program) data). The objective of this project is to open a dialogue with ITK in order to introduce the implementation of advanced software analytics to GEM data while simultaneously learning how best to deliver this data to allow engagement of northern communities and enable participatory knowledge sharing and data mobilization. The final objective is to concurrently mobilize and make GEM data accessible to northern stakeholders while stimulating bi-directional knowledge sharing. This approach lowers the barriers of adoption to “Big Data” tools by making them accessible, understandable and useful to the non-expert.

Benefits to Canada: This project represents a unique collaboration between academia, Northerners, industry, territorial governments, and NRCan through the development of an innovative, simple, effective, scalable and sustainable web-based tool. The development of a tangible framework that facilitates innovative knowledge sharing and the use of advanced analytics tools for data delivery ensures data are presented in an accessible and meaningful way that is responsive to the needs of Northerners. Furthermore, this project provides training for Northerners in modern software techniques, contributing to Canadian geoscience capacity and maximizing the utilization of GEM-supported research results.