Project team: Community partners: Quesnel Dãkelh Education and Employment Society (includes Lhoosk’uz Dené Nation, Lhtako Dené Nation, and Nazko First Nations), UBC partner: Indigenous Research Support Initiative (Lerato Chondoma, Associate Director)


The Quesnel Dãkelh Education and Employment Society (QDEES) is a not-for-profit partnership of the three Southern Dãkelh First Nations (Lhoosk’uz Dené Nation, Lhtako Dené Nation, and Nazko First Nations). The three communities have a combined population of approximately 855 band members, approximately half of whom are under age 30.

QDEES has a mandate of creating an economy consistent with local values and works to advance employment, education, and training opportunities for the three Nations’ community members. The society also strives to break down barriers to growth by addressing the deeper issues that affect the wellbeing of the three Nations.

Approach and Engagement

With a new gold mine being developed in the region, the three Nations’ Chiefs approached UBC to assist in exploring ways QDEES could benefit from the potential employment and other economic opportunities that will be created, and at the same time address the inevitable challenges that the economic growth will bring to more vulnerable members of the three communities. The project’s primary objective is to provide education and employment industry training, as well as related social supports and services, for all members.

In addition, the communities wanted to provide adequate support for the 85 youth between the ages of 14 years and 19 that fall under Jordan’s Principle, a principle used in Canada to ensure that First Nations children have equitable access to all government-funded services. These youth have been the target of bullying at school and many are the victims of physical and sexual abuse and/or suffer from fetal alcohol syndrome and its effects. As a subset of this project, therefore QDEES is working to correct injustices and provide equal opportunity support for high school-aged members.

IRSI's Role

In March 2018, IRSI signed an MOU with QDEES and RES’EAU-WaterNET, a research institution based at UBC Vancouver, to partner together on education and industry training partnerships to increase their engagement within the mainstream economy as skilled workers and business partners. This project has an estimated two-year timeline and a total budget of $1.404 million.

Project Funding

$1.404 million

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