SIKU launches goose watch competition
Winners from each community will receive $100
The people behind the SIKU app have launched a goose watch competition for every Inuit community across Canada.
The first person from each community who posts on the app a goose hunting story, along with photos of the goose or geese, will receive a $100 gift card and a SIKU toque.
“Spring is a time when everyone is getting out there and so we wanted to have this to help reengage people,” said Joel Heath, executive director of the Arctic Eider Society.
“We didn’t totally think of the idea from scratch because we know lots of communities, especially in Nunavik, have their first-goose competition.”
Now, instead of that type of contest being limited to just a single community and Facebook group, it has been expanded across the North. For Heath, that’s a major feature of the app.
SIKU, which launched last fall, was developed by the Arctic Eider Society as an Indigenous knowledge social network.
According to its description on the Apple app store, SIKU is “a mobile app and web platform by and for Inuit which provides tools and services for ice safety, weather forecasting, language preservation and knowledge transfer.”
Although the app is focused on a map labelled with a slew of user-generated icons indicating everything from ice thickness to animal spotting, like all social media it’s intended to also help strengthen the ties and communication between communities.
“The tools on SIKU don’t just help us with documenting and sharing hunting stories, but help with the intercommunity connections for something like geese,” said Heath.
While this will help hunters in the short-term, by giving them a better idea of where geese are based on posts by neighbouring communities, Heath hopes that SIKU will also provide long-term benefits.
“We hear these sorts of things from elders, that new species are showing up, or the timing of spring migration has been changing and this sort of thing that’s exciting in [the] short term can also be exciting in the long term,” said Heath.
“[SIKU] can provide a way to help document changes in the timing of spring migration or migration routes or a whole bunch of different things that we haven’t even thought of yet.”
This contest, the first of its kind on SIKU, represents a step towards that goal.
Although the app is only in its first year, according to Heath, it has been well received so far, and currently has about 3,500 users.
“There are still quite a few users every day that sign up,” he said.
This has been particularly true in Pond Inlet and Sanikiluaq, where various pilot programs have spurred new users to join.
All SIKU users can participate in the contest.
Heath stresses that while getting out on the land is important, so is practising appropriate physical distancing during the pandemic.