ímesh Mobile App

Photography by Creative Studio, Simon Fraser University

ímesh (To Walk) Mobile App

ímesh, meaning "to walk" in Sḵwx̱wú7mesh snichim (Squamish Language), is a mobile app developed by the Bill Reid Centre for Northwest Coast Studies at SFU. The app is a response to the university’s Community Engagement Strategy, and its Aboriginal Strategic Plan, and is intended to be a step, however small, toward decolonizing the university and the surrounding landscape.

The goal of the app is to communicate through experience, the unique worldviews represented by the Indigenous art on campus, and to create a stronger awareness of the Coast Salish territories on which SFU is situated. The app accomplishes this through three walking tours, the first of which was released in the summer of 2016.

The app is currently available for download here.

SFU Indigenous Art Walk

Available June 2016, this section of the app provides locations and information for the publicly accessible Indigenous art located at SFU Burnaby and Burnaby Mountain Park. Users can access each artwork from a list of available pieces, or take a directed tour using geolocation to notify them when they are close to one of the artworks. At each venue the user is presented with information about the artist, the work, and the culturally shared knowledge that informs each piece.

Production Credits:
Bill Reid Centre, SFU
SNF New Media Lab, SFU

This project was made possible by:
The Bill Reid Centre at SFU
SFU External Relations' Community Engagement Initiative
SFU Office for Aboriginal People

Coast Salish Place Names

The Coast Salish tour is currently being developed in consultation with the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and Tsleil-Waututh (Burrard) First Nations, and is expected to be released in 2018. This tour is an acknowledgement of Coast Salish territories that takes recognition beyond words, and allows for an embodied experience of local landscapes and languages. The tour provides an interactive walk around Burnaby Mountain, where SFU is situated.

This tour combines community narratives with geolocation, and provides traditional place names and histories for a selection of landmarks and vistas seen from campus. For example, the location at the north base of Burnaby Mountain is known today as Barnet Marine Park. This place is known to the Squamish as Lhuḵw’lhuḵw’áyten, ‘where the bark gets pe[e]led’ in spring.” The name is derived from the Squamish word for arbutus, lhulhuḵw’ay, which comes from lhuḵw’ (peel), and means “always peeling tree.” The app introduces users to six such locations in the hən̓q̓əmin̓əand Sḵwx̱wú7mesh languages.

SFU Indigenous Initiatives

The Indigenous Initiatives section of the app provides users with a consolidated list of services and initiatives oriented towards Aboriginal students and visitors to the Burnaby campus. Again, using geolocation and providing summary information on the purpose of each office or service, users are connected to Aboriginal-oriented events and to the campus’ extensive Aboriginal support network.

Written into the Earth by Susan Point, 1999. Photo courtesy SFU Galleries.

SFU is making great strides in recognition of the local First Nations and the territories on which the university was built. This project serves to honour the presence of these and other Indigenous cultures and peoples, and to create an environment in which these people feel welcome. Through these initiatives SFU is, first of all, striving to be an instrument through which Indigenous people can recognize their full potential. It is also supplying leadership in support of the truth and reconciliation process. Through these and other important projects, the university is now a forum for sharing Aboriginal history, culture, knowledge, and experience. This project is intended to benefit all of Canada, which has much to gain from learning about First Peoples.