Xetthecum: ecocultural mapping pilot

The Xetthecum pilot project is an initiative to weave together Indigenous ways of knowing and Western ecological science into an ecocultural map of Retreat Cove (Xetthecum in the Hul’qumi’num language), Galiano Island, BC. Created in partnership with Indigenous and non-Indigenous collaborators, this participatory mapping program, developed in a Geographic Information System (GIS) framework, is using online data visualizations to communicate historical and contemporary biodiversity data, terrestrial ecosystem mapping, written and spoken Hul’qumi’num, and stories of place. By engaging a multigenerational and cross-cultural community in documenting Xetthecum’s sensitive ecosystems and cultural keystone species, we aim to foster a holistic approach to shle’muxun—meaning “guardian of the land,” or “stewardship,” in Hul’qumi’num. Beyond this pilot project, we aspire to adapt these practices in partnership with Whiteswan Environmental to create ecocultural maps of significant sites throughout the Salish Sea.


Project Initiated October 2020

Current status: Ongoing 


Jeannine Georgeson, Antranig Basman, Andrew Simon | IMERSS

Dana Ayotte | Inclusive Design Research Centre

American Indian Higher Education Consortium (AIHEC)

Whiteswan Environmental

Vashon Nature Centre

We are grateful for funding provided by Indigenous Watersheds Initiative, the Inclusive Design Research Centre, and the Southern Gulf Island Community Resource Centre in support of this ongoing ecocultural mapping initiative.