SmartICE is a community-based Work Integration Social Enterprise offering climate change adaptation tools and services that integrate Indigenous knowledge of sea ice with monitoring technology. Our information contributes to more informed decisions for safer sea ice travel and supports community economic development that depends on ice operations (e.g., winter outfitting and fisheries). By augmenting local knowledge and supporting traditional sea ice use, SmartICE also promotes Inuit culture, intergenerational learning, and community wellbeing.
SmartICE’s current full- and part-time staff are 80% Indigenous or northerners, working from coordinating offices in Mittimatalik, Uqsuqtuuq, Nunainguk, Qikiqtarjuaq and Ikpiarjuk and St. John’s, as well as in partnering communities. SmartICE trains its operators to produce, operate and maintain its technology; however, instead of using western training methods, they employ holistic, culturally contextualised approaches that build on Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit (IQ; Inuit knowledge and values) and employ Inuit ways of knowing and learning. Their training is delivered by Inuit for Inuit, using staff who live in the regions and can provide training in Inuktitut.
In 2019 SmartICE launched the award-winning Northern Production Centre in Nain, Nunatsiavut, the first of a series of proposed technology production facilities that train Inuit youth to assemble SmartICE sensors for distribution across Inuit Nunangat and northern territories. Through their Employment Readiness and Technology Production program, SmartICE provides meaningful training opportunities to help reduce barriers faced by Inuit to sustainable employment and continuing education.
A foundational principle of SmartICE is that any adopted technology should augment—not replace—IQ of ice travel. SmartICE is supporting youth researchers working with Elders and experienced ice users to document and mobilize IQ of safe ice travel for the benefit of their communities. The knowledge products include community posters of safe travel practices, illustrated household booklets of Inuktitut ice terminology, and seasonal travel hazard maps.
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The two thematic networks we are initially interested in joining are the “Collaborative Resource Management” and “Local-Scale Planning, Climate Change and Resilience”. However, our interests also lie in: 1) Community-based monitoring; 2) Indigenous training and ways of knowing/learning; 3) Northern social enterprise