Mapping and GIS
“Our people traveled far and wide on our traditional territory.”
Because the Tsleil-Waututh people are the original inhabitants of the territory surrounding the Burrard Inlet, no one has a deeper knowledge of the lands and waters, and the resources found within them, than our people. We have climbed the mountains, paddled the waters, and passed down what we know through generations. Prior to European contact, First Nations did not have boundaries between them, but operated on a system of protocols and customs which were known and respected by everyone and allowed access to each other’s resources.
When the treaty process began, we found it necessary not only to create boundaries where there were none before, but also to demonstrate how it was that we knew where our traditional use and occupancy areas were. We had to find a way to illustrate the traditional knowledge we have of our lands in a way that non-Tsleil-Waututh people would better understand.
The Tsleil-Waututh Nation’s Mapping and GIS (Geographic Information Systems) capabilities are the cornerstone of our ability to record and utilize the information resulting from our traditional use studies. Though the advent of the Mapping and GIS offices was due to the treaty process, its contribution to our community has gone far beyond the drawing of lines on a map. The Mapping and GIS office has brought a wealth of technical expertise to the Nation, helps to inform the bioregional planning process, and to support community and economic developments. The visual representations we are capable of creating help to tell our story.