Reviews

The opinions expressed in the Book and Article Reviews are not necessarily those of the Aboriginal Mapping Network.

From Elder's Knowledge to Co-Management Utilizing Participatory Action Research (PAR) and a Geogrraphic Information System (GIS)

FROM ELDER'S KNOWLEDGE TO CO-MANAGEMENT UTILIZING PARTICIPATORY ACTION RESEARCH (PAR) AND A GEOGRAPHIC INFORMATION SYSTEM (GIS) - An Article Review
Robinson, Mike and Ozzie Sawicki. 1996. "From Elders' Knowledge to Co-Management Utilizing Participatory Action Research (PAR) and a Geopgraphical Information System (GIS)" Sustainable Forestry Partnerships: Forging a Network of Excellence. Pp. 122-128.

Mike Robinson and Ozzie Sawicki, both of the Arctic Institute of North America, provide a basic but detailed explanation of how participatory action research (PAR) and geographical information systems (GIS) can be combined to form a powerful resource decision-making tool. By joining PAR and GIS, traditional ecological knowledge and western scientific knowledge can be fused together. By incorporating both knowledge systems into decision-making, sustainability and economic development can be realized.

Robinson and Sawicki stress the importance of PAR as a research method when mapping cultural land use and developing co-management plans.The primary goal of a PAR project is to contribute towards community development via adult education. Essentially, PAR is process by which researchers/trainers will enter a community with the objective of training local members until the trainers are no longer needed – the community can solve problems locally without relying on external assistance. Because the community is the core to any PAR project, the original problem must be defined by the community, the research must involve the entire community and the problem must be solved by the community.

The article goes on to provide a very informative overview of GI,S including hardware and software requirements and GPS. The authors describe three GIS systems, low, medium, and high cost systems, and the advantages and disadvantages of each. In addition, Robinson and Sawicki define the key terms of GIS systems and list the key requirements that every GIS should include. They tailor this discussion towards small communities that seek an efficient and effective computer-based GIS.

"From Elder’s Knowledge to Co-Management Utilizing Participatory Action Research (PAR) and a Geographic Information System (GIS)" is a thorough overview of a research methodology that seeks to promote healthy communities by allowing them to become self-reliant and economically independent.

Review by Leah McMillin

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From Elder's Knowledge To Co-Management Utilizing Participatory Action Research (PAR) And A Geographic Information System (GIS)

Robinson, Mike and Ozzie Sawicki. 1996. "From Elders' Knowledge to Co-Management Utilizing Participatory Action Research (PAR) and a Geopgraphical Information System (GIS)" Sustainable Forestry Partnerships: Forging a Network of Excellence. Pp. 122-128.

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Boundaries Of Home: Mapping For Local Empowerement - A Book Review

Aberley, Doug (editor). 1993. Boundaries of Home: Mapping for Local Empowerment. Gabriola Island, BC: New Catalyst. 138pp.

This book is an edited compilation of essays that introduce the reader to the fundamentals of bioregionalist theory and practice. The editor, Doug Aberley, is a professor at the University of British Columbia's School of Community and Regional Planning. A planner for many years in Hazelton, BC, Doug has worked on numerous mapping projects with First Nations groups and other community organizations in Canada and abroad.

Boundaries of Home begins with two short chapters by Doug Aberley. The first discusses the power of maps and the need to re-acquire this power at the local level. The second chapter champions the validity of aboriginal mapping and native perceptions of home places. The third chapter, "Mapping the Experience of Place" is a collection of stories of first hand experiences with mapping at a local level in urban and rural settings. The concluding two articles address the issue of GIS use in grassroots mapping.

Chapter four, "New Terrain: Current Mapping Thought," contains a series of articles that discuss contemporary theory of activist local mapping, addressing issues of local/global connections and sustainability. The concluding two chapters are by Doug Aberley again. Chapter five is a fifty-six page primer on "How to Map Your Bioregion." It walks you through defining a bioregion, creating a basemap, identifying map topics, and researching and producing a variety of thematic maps. The final chapter is an organized bibliography of sources for further reading.

This book will prove a very useful tool for those who understand the value of rediscovering their local home places. This well-illustrated collection of articles by some of the leading thinkers in the field of grassroots mapping is both informative and inspiring. It provides a concise and readable introduction to the thinking behind of bioregional mapping complemented by a rich diversity of case studies.

Book review by Ben Johnson, UBC School of Planning.

Book available from New Society Publishers, P.O. Box 189, Gabriola Island, BC, Canada, V0R 1X0.

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