Award details

Aviva Lessard

Department: Anthropology

Faculty supervisor: Prof. Brian Thom


"By drawing on the principles of ethnographic mapping, I want to produce a high-quality cyber map that re-enacts the events of the Oka Crisis and provides the Mohawk historical and political context. I have developed a preliminary digital map in Google Earth portraying the crisis in Quebec. This map marks the important locations during the events such as the blockades, contested areas and solidarity protests in the rest of Canada, as well as the historical borders and land allotments of the Mohawk people. The Google Earth medium challenges traditional cartography in the sense that viewers of the map are navigating themselves and interacting with information. I seek to further this research by enriching the map with video, photos and interview data, improve the layout and experiment with different mapping tools such as tourbuilder. I want to post it online on a website as an interactive educational tool geared toward enhancing high school curriculum. This digital map can offer Indigenous perspectives on a major historical event in Canada. Much of Indigenous knowledge and experiences are silenced in our current education system and teachers often do not have the resources to supplement the current curriculum. I will also conduct a scholarly review of historical cartography projects. Cyber cartography combined with ethnographic knowledge is an emerging approach to revealing Indigenous histories and contemporary issues. I will examine similar projects and begin to unravel some of the opportunities and ideological problems that go along with cartography."