CPP-06. Looking back, looking ahead: The ELOKA program at 15+ years
Established in 2006, the Exchange for Local Observations and Knowledge of the Arctic (ELOKA) program has a long history of engaging with Indigenous partners from across the Arctic interested in community data management. ELOKA established a unique role in the Arctic research community with its focus on data management with and for Indigenous communities. Over the years, ELOKA has developed approaches to archiving and distributing Indigenous data and knowledge, some of which require special protections including access and use limitations. A guiding principle is simple: tools and products are co-created with the knowledge providers, recognizing that the data are owned and stewarded by Indigenous communities. ELOKA also prioritizes training for community members in how to upload data, utilize the applications, and eventually manage the data products if desired. ELOKA has collaborated with communities in Siberia, Russia; Greenland; Nunavut, Canada; and Alaska to create a variety of products, including narrative content, data applications, and interactive atlases. Our first products were static webpages that documented images and content about local and traditional knowledge for communities in Siberia, Greenland, and Alaska. A custom application for ingesting and displaying Alaskan hunters’ sea ice and marine animal observations was launched in 2012 and continues to be updated by the community members. Over ten years ago, several communities in the Yukon region of Alaska partnered with ELOKA to maintain an online atlas of documenting Yup’ik placenames. Through a relationship with the local school district, high school students participate in curriculum about the Yup'ik atlas, contributing their knowledge and observations to the evolving atlas. With guidance from our partners, ELOKA continues to update and maintain the two dozen products in our collection. In 2021, ELOKA received a new five-year NSF award to focus on the use and usefulness of data management tools and applications. Through collaboration with our partners, we established working groups focusing on place names and long-term observing to support peer-to-peer learning and exchange. An Indigenous advisory committee is overseeing ELOKA’s efforts and supporting continued focus on building capacity for community and Indigenous leadership for co-production of research and data management tools.