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GIS and Traditional Knowledge


You can find the SIMPCW and Secwepemc people of the Shuswap Nation at the top of Thompson River in British Columbia. They have found a way to mix new science with traditional ways to help their home and nation.

In 1993, some members of the Shuswap Nation were able to be trained in Geographic Information Systems or GIS. GIS is a set of different data about earth science! It runs pictures from outer space, maps and traditional knowhow through the computer.

By using GIS the SIMPCW GIS team can put traditional knowledge on maps. This way they can tell if something is good or bad for the land. For example, if the band council wanted to make a road, they would have to look at the map first so they can put it in a safe spot where it won’t harm the land or burial grounds.

The SIMPCW GIS team makes the maps by asking Elders and other people who know about their land. This way they can put all the ideas together with other things like pictures and other teams information from the area.

By using GIS the use of computers in traditional places has grown and become useful. Computers may be new but they can sure work with our traditional ways!

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