Mapping and Aboriginal Data

HELP produces a range of maps and other graphics that illustrate the results of the Early Development Instrument (EDI), socio-economic information and other ecological data. These maps can be used in a variety of ways, from community mobilization to policy making.

HELP recognizes and respects that Aboriginal families, communities and governance have sovereignty and jurisdiction over their children and, therefore, are the owners of data collected for their children.  For this reason, HELP does not release Aboriginal-specific EDI data or results for public consumption or to specific organizations who request data. Instead, Aboriginal data is presented back to community through Aboriginal Education Council meetings, local gatherings and through invited reporting and briefing presentations with various levels of Aboriginal organizations, communities and nations. Data is never released without the written consent of the concerned Nation or appointed representatives.

HELP is guided by the Aboriginal Steering Committee (ASC) in order to ensure that data results are understood and not misconstrued and used to perpetuate misperceptions. As such we are working through school district Aboriginal Education Councils and with community and Nation based governance organizations.

The Land-based Language Group Map

Prior to contact, Indigenous peoples lived according to social infrastructures that privileged relationships to land, relationships to others (within nations and between nations) and an understanding of self as an individual and as a member of a collective. 

More recently, Indigenous nations have articulated boundaries that reflect their traditional knowledges as assertions of their sovereignty in rebuilding their nations.

These boundaries are often at times at odds with the boundaries represented on other HELP maps, which replicate government and administrative boundaries. While the Land-based Language group map is problematic in terms of establishing static, defined boundaries it presents an opportunity for people to share a common view that conceptualizes the province differently.  It suggests a time before colonization. 

BC Aboriginal Language Group Boundaries

Interpreting the Land-based Language Group Map

Originally, Aboriginal specific data was displayed solely by the 27 language groups shown in the map above. As we worked more with the data we realized the need for a more detailed picture that showed the variations of the data within the Language Groups. Led by Dr. Michele Sam, and using publicly available resources, we verified boundaries that reflected traditional First Nations communities and that allowed us to subdivide the Language Groups to show the variation.

Unfortunately, no consistent sources were found for most of the Language Groups.  We continue to work in consultation with Aboriginal Communities and our hope is to eventually find enough resources to apply traditional boundaries across the province that reflect the territories of First Nations. In the meantime, we have further sub divided each language group by the 59 School Districts.  School district boundaries are familiar to many people in the field of early child development. The 59 School Districts are represented underneath the Language Groups and are divided when they cross Language groups.  This created 106 Language Group School District's (LGSD) seen in the map below.  We now organize and report the data by Language Groups, LGSD's and School Districts.  

BC Aboriginal Language Groups and School Districts

Map of First Nations within the Coast Salish Language Group

The Coast Salish Language Group was the only Language Group where we were able to find reliable, public resources for First Nations Community boundaries. The Coast Salish Language Group also contains the highest number of Aboriginal Children reported on the EDI and thus we are able to show data within the Coast Salish Language Group by these smaller traditional boundaries instead of the larger LGSD's that make up the rest of the province.

Map of Tribes within Coast Salish Language Group

The Language Group and Coast Salish First Nation Community boundaries are one interpretation, of these traditional boundaries and by no means concrete.  We purposefully display the boundary edges as fuzzy boundaries as they were traditionally dynamic boundaries, whose people often interacted within one another. We also see these boundaries as living boundaries that are open to community feedback.