Indigenous Planning

Land use planning can help communities to strategically get ahead of industrial development pressures, while business, economic, and organizational planning can help communities achieve their own preferred development outcomes.

What We Do

We work closely with our clients to identify their long-term goals — whether they be cultural, social, or economic — and to devise and implement the policies and processes needed to achieve these goals. This work can include land use planning, consultation protocols, climate change adaptation plans, organizational and governance development, staff training and workshops, strategic economic development plans, and feasibility studies in tourism, agriculture, and small businesses.


We have extensive experience working with communities across Canada to develop preferred cultural, social, and economic futures that support their priorities and balance economic development with cultural continuity. We also have a thorough understanding of the policy and regulatory systems, industrial pressures, and environmental contexts within which community decisions are made.

Capacity Building

We provide training and on-going support so that communities can develop their own cultural, economic, and governance vision, and develop the steps they need to achieve their desired futures.


Steve DeRoy

MSc Geographic Information Science
Vancouver Office
Phone: (604) 563-2245

Firelight works with communities to understand their longstanding knowledge to place and space and translates that traditional knowledge into processes, policies, and documents that can be understood by outside stakeholders. We develop engagement strategies that are reflective of Indigenous groups’ values, priorities, and interests.

Steve DeRoy
Indigenous Planning Team Lead

Example Projects

Nanh kak ejuk gweedhaa nakhwaandèe hah gwanaa’in – Watching Changes on the Land with our Eyes – Vuntut Gwitchin Government (2018)

The Vuntut Gwitchin Government (VGG) is currently (as of May 2018) evaluating their research priorities and approach towards environmental monitoring on their lands. The project Nanh kak ejuk gweedhaa nakhwaandèe hah gwanaa’in “Watching Changes on the Land with our Eyes” was initiated by the VGG to better understand environmental change in their traditional territory, and how this change has been tracked over time. Informed through a comprehensive literature review and a collaborative, community-informed workshop, this report documents the emerging trends and priorities of community members and VGG staff for future community-based monitoring in VGG territory. 

In addition to identifying specific monitoring goals for key species that are relied on by community members, there were five overarching goals for a VGG approach to future environmental monitoring research: 

  1. Engage youth: Ensure youth are being educated on these topics and are trained to carry on the work in the future; youth need to be given the opportunity to learn about Vuntut Gwitchin values, culture and carry on their traditional way of life;
  2. Support harvester monitoring: Develop a robust harvesting reporting program in the community to have a better understanding of what community members are seeing on the land, and aid in developing management plans;
  3. Community-based monitoring plans: Continue to finalize and implement all community-based monitoring programs, while updating the plans on a regular basis;
  4. Study climate change locally: Climate change is having impacts on all aspects of the ecosystem, and needs to be monitored closely on an annual basis; and
  5. Engage traditional knowledge: Continue to have Vuntut Gwitchin traditional knowledge, values and priorities guide environmental monitoring work and research agendas.

Nanh kak ejuk gweedhaa nakhwaandèe hah gwanaa’in – “Watching Changes on the Land With Our Eyes” (2018)

Nexwagwez?an – Community Vision and Management Goals for the Dasiqox Tribal Park (2017)

The Yunesit’in and Xeni Gwet’in First Nations (Tsilhqot’in communities) established the Dasiqox Tribal Park in 2014. Nexwagwez?an (meaning it is there for us) is an Indigenous Protected Area that exists to protect ecosystems, revitalize culture, and sustain local livelihoods. Firelight provides ongoing support to the Dasiqox Tribal Park in the form of community-based management planning, mapping, research, capacity-building, technical advising, strategic planning, and project coordination. In 2017, funded by Wilburforce Foundation, we engaged with community members and the Dasiqox Tribal Park governance team, documenting their voices and vision for the tribal park in the form of a community vision and management goals for Nexwagwez?an. Firelight is honoured to provide continued support to this exciting, meaningful, leading edge work by Tsilhqot’in communities.

Report is not yet available to the public.

Priorities and Needs for First Nations Establishing Indigenous Protected areas in British Columbia – Phase 1: Scoping Study (2016)

There is a groundswell of interest in Indigenous-led Protected Areas (IPAs) and stewardship initiatives in British Columbia and Canada. The Firelight Group initiated a preliminary study of selected IPAs, and other Indigenous conservation efforts in British Columbia, and the challenges they share. This report identified Indigenous communities in BC that are engaged or interested in establishing IPAs, synthesized community priorities, challenges, questions, and needs, then identified gaps in available resources, recommending actions and funding strategies to support future work. Wilburforce Foundation funded this work. A preliminary scoping study, this report helped to inform the Indigenous Circle of Experts (ICE) for the federal Pathway to Canada’s Target 1 protected areas initiative.

Priorities and Needs for First Nations Establishing Indigenous Protected Areas in British Columbia – Phase 1: Scoping Study 2016

Indigenous Traditional Knowledge Framework (2015)

The Indigenous Traditional Knowledge Framework is a policy guide to establish standards and best practices for including Indigenous Traditional Knowledge into environmental decision-making in Northeast Alberta. Firelight supported the process and authorship of the Framework, alongside 14 Indigenous communities, industry and government representatives.

Indigenous Traditional Knowledge Framework 2015

The Firelight Group

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


VICTORIA (250) 590-9017
EDMONTON (780) 760-1255


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