Calling: The Returns of Gitxsan Research
Chapter 2 traces the career arcs of two prominent Gitxsan mapmakers after the collapse of a short-lived capacity-building program in the province drove many recently trained First Nations mapmakers away from their reserves in search of work. During the capacity-building era and throughout its aftermath, Gitxsan geographic information systems (GIS) experts negotiated expectations that their work would benefit their patrons and elders, and that they would devote their specialized labor to specific collective causes. Perhaps the biggest challenge faced by individual Gitxsan mapmakers, however, has been the expectation that they themselves would eventually come “home,” and that they would help to redefine their nation’s social worlds by connecting them to new technical networks. As they pondered how the artifacts of their work have been taken up by refashioned Gitxsan bureaucracies, however, some of them have struggled to reconcile the urgency of these demands with the estranging effects of displacement.