Robinson Huron Waawiindamaagewin (RHW) is very excited to be bringing to each of our member communities the resources and opportunity to help them produce world-class land-use maps that document where members have exercised cultural and traditional harvesting rights.
We have hired a top expert, Terry Tobias, who has many years of experience in doing this specialized type of mapping that was invented by Canadian Indigenous peoples five decades ago. It was they who originally called it use and occupancy mapping (UOM) because the point was to prove where people ‘used’ traditional resources and ‘occupied’ lands.
Our reason for doing this mapping is essentially the same: to prove that our First Nations’ homelands are still vital to our well-being. Every nation needs a strong set of maps it can trust will stand up at any negotiation or even in court. Excellent maps in the hands of good leadership end up resulting in the First Nation having a stronger voice about what happens on its Ancestral Lands. Our nations will, when the time comes, have several members do private, face-to-face sessions with trained interviewers. Each participant will spend two hours with the interviewer looking at maps and marking places where they’ve done various harvesting activities and stayed out on the land. The result is a powerful snapshot picture of the participant’s life on the land, or map biography. All map biographies from all interviewed members are displayed on a set of maps that speaks for the First Nation as a whole.
Please help the project by simply finding out more about it and helping to get the word out that it is an important initiative for all our members to support. When the work has finally been done and you see the results, you will be proud that you did.