Living Proof

The Essential Data-Collection Guide for Indigenous Use-and Occupancy Map Surveys

By Terry Tobias (2010)


Living Proof is a tool for Indigenous peoples looking to assert their ongoing ties to the land, or for anyone working with resources on Indigenous territories. 

This book is a methodology guide for conducting land use-and-occupancy projects. It provides best practice recommendations for all steps in map projects, from equipment and project management to interview techniques.

What began as a simple follow-up to the popular Chief Kerry’s Moose: A Guidebook to Land Use and Occupancy Mapping, Research Design published in 2000 has become an expansive, in-depth methodology for collecting high-quality Indigenous cultural data. Living Proof is a peer-reviewed guidebook written with the support and knowledge of practitioners and the experiences of many Indigenous communities in Canada, Alaska, and Australia. It spans 486 pages of solid research methodology, presented in an easy-to-read style, with a gallery of over 300 maps, photos, and graphics. As the first of its kind, Living Proof represents a milestone in land use and occupancy research, encapsulating the extensive experience of the author and over 100 practitioners across three countries.

Click Here to View the Table of Contents

Accessing Living Proof

The guidebook can be accessed in several ways: downloading an online PDF, visiting the UBCIC Library and Archives, or visiting another library. UBCIC has a list of post-secondary institutions (current as of 2023) with physical copies available, and other libraries may also have a copy. A print run was published, but all copies are now sold.

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Click Here to View the List of Post-Secondary Libraries with Copies

Click Here to View the UBCIC Library Catalogue

Other Resources:

Chief Kerry's Moose (2000) is an earlier guidebook for land use and occupancy mapping, research design, and data collection. It examines common challenges and issues in research design.

Stolen Lands, Broken Promises: Researching the Indian Land Question in BC (2nd ed.) is a practical, hands-on resource for Indigenous community members wanting to conduct research on various issues affecting traditional territory and reserve lands in British Columbia. It guides researchers through planning and successfully completing lands-related research projects with a strong historical component.

The UBCIC Archives also holds related original digital records, including design files, images, communications, and maps for this publication on behalf of the author. To view them, contact the Archives at [email protected] after agreeing to the UBCIC ethical research policy.

Background Documents:

For general background, read The Evolution Of British Columbia's Heritage Environment: An Overview and Discussion of First Nations Issues.

The website of the Aboriginal Mapping Network is a wealth of information and resources, including spatial data resources, project funding, legal information (including the Crown Lands Referrals Toolbox), mapping methods, useful publications, and training options.