Arctic Field Projects



Project Title: Collaborative Research: Linking Maps, Manuscripts, and Place Names Data to Improve Environmental Knowledge in Alaska (Award# 1624365)

PI: Holton, Gary (holton@hawaii.edu)
Phone: (808) 956.3227 
Institute/Department: U of Hawai‘i at Manoa, Department of Linguistics 
IPY Project?
Funding Agency: US\Federal\NSF\GEO\OPP\ARC\ASSP
Program Manager: Dr. Erica Hill (erhill@nsf.gov)
Discipline(s): | Social and Human Sciences |

Project Web Site(s):
NSF_Award_Info: http://www.nsf.gov/awardsearch/showAward?AWD_ID=16...
Data: https://eloka-arctic.org/

Science Summary:
This award supports a project that will compile a geographic database linking place name data found on historic Alaskan maps, manuscripts, and within oral histories and printed materials. The project builds on the existing, proven infrastructure of the Exchange for Local Observations of and Knowledge of the Arctic (ELOKA) project to create a sustainable platform accessible to both current and future researchers and community members. A collaborative approach brings together researchers with expertise in Alaska Native languages and geography (Gary Holton) and in web-based mapping and visualization applications for traditional knowledge (Peter Pulsifer). Linking place names with maps and manuscripts allows for a greater time depth in place name research, since the archival record for Alaska Native languages stretches back some three centuries. Rather than viewing place names as lists of disassociated points, the integrative approach adopted here reveals connections between configurations of named places and socio-ecological dimensions of landscape, thus providing insights into biological and cultural diversity, adaptation and resilience, and cultural values and ecosystem services within the context of environmental change. In particular, this project provides a foundation for biocultural diversity research at the local level, avoiding subjectively-defined ethnic and linguistic boundaries. By comparing current and traditional resource use, ecosystem services can be understood, helping to inform policy and management decisions. The open and extensible platform developed by this project will provide a foundation for use by both researchers and community members. The web-based platform and associated mobile apps provided can be easily navigated by K-12 students, yielding opportunities to incorporate geographic and environmental learning directly into the classroom. At the same time, the project framework has full GIS capabilities, allowing users to access geolinguistic datasets with analytical tools of their own choosing. The long-term institutional commitments by the two collaborating institutions positions this project to grow into the standard repository for Indigenous place name data in Alaska.

Logistics Summary:
This collaborative project brings together researchers with expertise in Alaska Native linguistics and geography, PI Holton (1624365, U of Hawaii) and in web-based mapping and visualization applications for traditional knowledge, PI Pulsifer (1415516, CU) in order to compile a geographic database linking place name data found on historic Alaskan maps, The project builds on the existing, proven infrastructure of the Exchange for Local Observations of and Knowledge of the Arctic (ELOKA) project (NSF grants 0856634 and 1231638) to create a sustainable platform accessible to both current and future researchers and community members. manuscripts, and within oral histories and printed materials. During the first year, a two-day project kick-off meeting will be held in Fairbanks, Alaska, bringing together the UAF and NSIDC teams, as well as relevant stakeholders and community partners. The existing ELOKA framework will be demonstrated and explained, and plans for the integration of new data will be discussed. This meeting will also provide an opportunity to discuss concerns about data management and sharing protocols. Staff from the Calista Elders Council (CEC) have agreed to participate in this meeting in order to share their experience working with ELOKA on a place name atlas for the CEC region. No fieldwork will be conducted. This is the new grant awarded to Holton when the PI transferred to the University of Hawaii in 2015, which changed from 1415603 at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.




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