Boots on the Ground

Environmental Monitoring
Traditional Knowledge
Health and Wellness
Language and Culture

Boots on the Ground is a caribou monitoring program based on the traditional knowledge of the Indigenous elders and harvesters. It is a multi-year traditional knowledge monitoring program for the Bathurst caribou and monitor the conditions of Bathurst herd’s summer range by focusing on indicators: (1) caribou habitat and environment, (2) caribou, (3) predators, and (4) industrial disturbance. 

The program is based on traditional ways of walking and watching caribou and the land. We developed our monitoring methodology “Do as hunters do” as its based on the lifeways of hunters; by identifying and waiting at specific na'oke (water crossings) and following caribou herds by boat and on foot.  From the elder's holistic concept “we watch everything”, we identified traditional knowledge indicators of a healthy environment by assessing caribou and habitat conditions, impacts from predators, climate change and industrial activities. 

The project involves summer camps at Kokètì (Contwoyto lake). Reports from the first two years of observations are below.

Project Team:

  • Petter Jacobsen (Principal Investigator)
  • Joe Zoe 
  • Leon Ekendia
  • Leon Sanspariel
  • Russel Drybones
  • Tyanna Steinwand
  • Mercie Koadlak
  • John Koadlak



  • “We Watch Everything”: a Methodology for Boots-on-the-Ground Caribou Monitoring (2017) [link for download]
  • Boots-on-the-Ground Caribou Monitoring Results (2017) [link for download]