Social Return

Social Return is one of Firelight’s four founding principles.
It can be difficult for communities to find funding for some projects which are culturally, politically, or ecologically important. Each year we use a portion of our revenues to fund these types of activities.


Carolyn Whittaker
MSc Natural Resource Mgmt.
Phone: (250) 590-9017

Current Social Return Project Examples

Tlicho Birth Mapping Project (2017)

We worked with the Tłı̨chǫ Government on an ethno-historical mapping project project that explores the importance of birthplaces. For this project, four Tłı̨chǫ elders shared their stories about birthplaces and childbirth practices, in addition to mapping a number of birthplaces on Tłıc̨hǫ lands. These places and the elder’s stories illuminate the importance of learning about birthplaces and listening to their words so that younger generations may carry on the Tłıc̨hǫ way of life.


Men of the North (2016)

We are currently working with Nak’azdli Health Centre to support their program “Men of the North”. The project seeks to revive an important cultural trail while teaching men and youth how to live in the bush. This program will meet weekly to strengthen men’s connections to each other, and to promote community service and traditional knowledge.

Ethnobotanical Handbook (2016)Wild onions

Saulteau First Nations (SFN) will develop an ethnobotany handbook to assist in land reclamation after resource development within their traditional territory. The handbook will contribute to SFN’s long-term goal of sustainable landscape reclamation practices and inter-generation knowledge transfer.

Community Resilience Manifesto (2016)

Lake Babine First Nation is working to develop a resilience manifesto which seeks to build unity in and between communities affected by construction camps that are being built on their territory. Along with neighbouring communities they hope to develop joint mitigation measures to protect and strengthen vulnerable populations, such as women and youth, who will be impacted by these camps.

Past Social Return Project Examples

The Trapper’s Cabin Project (2015/2016)

In 2015 we worked with the Musgamagw Dzawada’enuxw Tribal Council (MDTC) to revitalize family-owned trap lines. The project built and documented a network of split cedar cabins throughout the nation’s traditional territories.

Indigenous Mapping Workshop (2015)Mapping Workshop

Firelight, the Chiefs of Ontario, and Google Earth Outreach co-hosted the second Indigenous Mapping Workshop in Waterloo, Ontario. The event built on the success of the previous workshop in Victoria in 2014, and explored the ways in which mapping can facilitate the empowerment of Indigenous communities in a culturally appropriate and sensitive way, emphasizing the intrinsic interconnectedness of Indigenous peoples, culture, and land. Read more…

Indigenous Mapping Workshop (2014)

In 2014 the Firelight Group, Google Earth Outreach, the Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs, and the University of Victoria welcomed more than 100 participants to Victoria for a 4-day Indigenous Mapping Workshop. The workshop explored critical approaches to geospatial technologies and indigenous mapping. Read more…

Graves and Historic Sites Restoration and Access (2014)

In 2014 we worked with Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation to help with the restoration and preservation of graves and other historic sites. The work involved clearing, marking, and taking care of grave sites and other historic markers on the community’s territory.

The Firelight Group

Research, policy, planning, negotiation, advisory, and capacity building services for Indigenous and local communities.


VICTORIA (250) 590-9017
VANCOUVER (604) 563-2245
EDMONTON (780) 760-1255
HAIDA GWAII (250) 559-7885 ex 228