“Don’t ask me about the future,” an Elder told us during a recent interview for an impact assessment. If that’s what we wanted to know about, “talk to my grandchildren,” he said.
His words provide valuable insight into the perspective required for a successful impact assessment. If your task is to predict the future, your research better have a firm grasp of the present before it begins to look forward. The same is true for land use planning too, which is all about balancing current interests against those yet to come.
Problem is, these processes often rely on traditional land use (TLU) research to make their predictions, and standard approaches to TLU research are not capable of sufficiently enriching our understanding of the past, let alone what’s happening today, or planned for tomorrow.
TLU studies are often project-specific too, so communities wind up paying for new research to respond to every new project that comes along. These studies answer questions related to the project rather than a community’s wider interests, offering little in the way of information that can be drawn upon for future responses and decisions.
As a result, communities can spend millions of dollars on TLU research and still not know how many moose they harvest today, or how many they will need tomorrow. Despite their investments, their valuable TLU information is not organized to help guide a variety of processes.
But it doesn’t have to be that way.
New methodologies and approaches to TLU research can help preserve and promote Indigenous cultures and economies by furnishing communities with the types of information that, until now, only governments have had at their disposal.
Trailmark’s mobile app makes it easy for harvesters and land users to document Indigenous Knowledge and TLU details while they are actually out using the land. Our mapping and interview tools enable researchers to capture rich stories and detail. This spatial, environmental, observational and heritage data can be used to substantiate and describe interests in current and quantitative and qualitative terms. It’s TLU research in real time, forward-looking and focussed on your community, not a specific project.
Trailmark’s TLU content management system allows you to integrate, organize and analyze your monitoring, interview, heritage and archival data – including all those old project-specific studies – so you can build and control a stockpile of rich, rights-based, community-driven data to help assess and defend current and future interests.