An Indigenous Led Transboundary Gathering

A Transboundary Gathering: Ecocultural Mapping in the Salish Sea was a gathering held in Strait Salish territories in August 2023. This event highlighted the need to incorporate stories of place into the digital ecocultural mapping tool, as well as the connection of story to place-based learning. This gathering, attended by several Xetthecum team members and supported by a SSHRC Connections Grant, provided a forum for showcasing the ecocultural mapping prototype produced during Phase II of the project, and an opportunity to discuss issues of data sovereignty and cultural safety in the context of ecocultural mapping.

Social learning circles and design clinics (led by the Western Washington University Center for Community Learning) provided a structure for these discussions. In addition to providing an opportunity for essential relationship building and the creation of collaborative connections, the gathering allowed the design team to gather feedback about the tool and to understand it in the larger context of the Salish Sea region. Discussions included issues of cultural sensitivity and how to design data sovereignty into the tool such that sensitive and sacred cultural knowledge could remain private and other knowledge be made public, as determined by Indigenous elders and knowledge keepers.