Sts’ailes Xa’xa Temexw Bioregional Atlas


Towards the end of 2014 Sts’ailes asked Inlailawatash to assist them in the development of a comprehensive bioregional atlas for Sts’ailes “Xa’xa Temexw”, which literally translated means sacred earth and expresses the Sts’ailes’ spiritual, physical, and cultural connections to the land, water, and resources. The intent of the atlas was to assist in outlining the high level land use framework/strategy for the entire Harrison Watershed, articulating the critical biophysical features, areas of concern, and culturally sensitive areas pertaining to the Sts’ailes traditional land use histories and current negotiated rights and title status.

Bioregional mapping is a technique that allows for the collective display of biophysical and cultural knowledge for an aboriginal community within one or more atlases. Each large-format map within the atlas focuses on a ‘theme’, and tells a story that reflects both scientific and local knowledge.

The goal of putting together this atlas was to effectively utilize the vast amounts of written graphic and cartographic information from both government and academic sources, as well as information that Sts’ailes has accumulated during cultural research, community development and other processes. Since this information is typically hidden within reports, digital files and map cabinets it is thus not easily available for broader community use.

This was very fun project for Inlailawatash. A total of 22 maps were created for the atlas, which will be used by Sts’ailes to assist in negotiations, economic development, public education, future planning and cultural protection. The atlas is a living document that can be updated by Sts’ailes at any time.