Indigenous Relations

Committed to Working with our Indigenous Partners

Distant Early Warning Station laser scanning Sturt Point Nunavut

Capacity Building

Challenger is proud of the formal and informal relationships we have established with local communities, businesses, and governments. We strive to build meaningful connections in the communities where we work.

We have an extensive portfolio of Indigenous clients and have built 10 unique partnerships with local Indigenous companies. The objective of these companies and joint ventures is to:

  • Facilitate the development of resources and capacity related to geomatics;
  • Enable local participation in geomatics activities in their territories;
  • Demonstrate a long-term commitment to sustainable development;
  • Develop and employ Indigenous and Northern Peoples; and
  • Deliver innovative and high-quality geomatics services at competitive rates.

Partner Companies

Partner Companies

Inukshuk Geomatics

Inukshuk Geomatics Inc. (Inukshuk) is jointly owned by the Inuvialuit Development Corporation and Challenger Geomatics Ltd. Inukshuk services the Inuvialuit Settlement Region and has been in operation for more than 20 years.

Inukshuk’s projects have included survey support for the construction of the Inuvik-Tuktoyaktuk Highway, which opened in the fall of 2017. This highway project included the largest legal land survey done on Canada Lands in 2017, and resulted in Inukshuk receiving the Association of Canada Lands Surveyors’ David Thompson Award for Challenging Cadastral Survey Project in 2018.

Sahtu Geomatics

Sahtu Geomatics Ltd. (Sahtu) is jointly owned by the MacKay Range Development Corporation and Challenger Geomatics Ltd. The Mackay Range Development Corporation (MRDC) is the business arm of the Tulita Land Corporation, which represents the Sahtu Dene of Tulita.

Sahtu is permitted by the Association of Canada Land Surveyors and was incorporated in 2012. The company services the Sahtu Settlement Area, including Norman Wells and Tulita.

Sahtu’s projects have included survey and geomatics support for numerous exploration and reclamation programs for mining and oil & gas activities as well as many local construction projects.

det'on cho challenger logo

Det’On Cho Challenger Geomatics

Formed in 2021, one of our newest formal business relationships is Det’on Cho Challenger Geomatics LP. The objective is to offer survey, mapping and remote sensing services within the traditional territory of the Yellowknives Dene First Nation through our Yellowknife branch, Sub-Arctic Geomatics. The company is majority-owned by its economic development arm, Det’on Cho Management LP.

Full Announcement

deetrin geomatics logo

Deetrin Geomatics

Deetrin Geomatics was also established in 2021. Meaning ‘raven’ in Gwich’in, Deetrin (day-trin) was chosen to represent a species that is common and traverses the GSA while acknowledging the rich culture, history, and land-based lifestyle of the Gwich’in. Our objective is to offer survey, mapping, and remote sensing services within the Gwich’in Settlement Area. The company is majority-owned by the Gwich’in Development Corporation, the economic development arm of the Gwich’in Tribal Council.

Full Announcement

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Kitikmeot Challenger

Founded April 3, 2023, Kitikmeot Challenger LP. is our first majority Inuit-owned company. It is a partnership between Kitikmeot Corporation,  the economic development arm of the Kitikmeot Inuit Association and Challenger Geomatics Ltd. Together we hope to bring prosperity and training for Inuit through employment opportunities, Indigenous Scholarships, geomatics services, and local financial benefits. This new company will focus on opportunities in the Kitikmeot Region, however the agreement extents throughout all of Nunavut. Kitikmeot Corporation will ensure that we are supported by the other DIO’s in their respective regions, as necessary.

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Dena Nezziddi Challenger LP

Dena Nezziddi Challenger LP originally started as a MOU in March of 2018 and has since become our first Indigenous limited partnership in the Yukon. Established July 13, 2023 we work with the Dena Nezziddi Development Corporation to provide geomatics support for mineral exploration, land development, and mine reclamation projects within the Kaska Traditional Territory.

Learn More About This Partnership

Welcome to Ross River sign

Joint Venture Partnerships

Carmacks Development Corporation

Our latest partnership is with the Little Salmon Carmacks First Nation (LSCFN), through a Joint Venture with their economic development group, Carmacks Development Corporation (CDC). This strategic partnership builds on our existing client relationship and will generate income and employment opportunities for Little Salmon Carmacks First Nation Citizens.


Our first formal partnership in Alberta is with the Ermineskin Cree Nation (ECN), through an MOU with Ermineskin Resource Development (ERD). Challenger will strategically partner with ERD in order to generate income and job opportunities for Ermineskin Cree Nation Citizens and commit to utilizing local businesses and work with ERD to provide skills training.

Chief Isaac

In November 2017, we announced the signing of a joint venture between Challenger and Chief Isaac Group of Companies. The partnership positions both companies as the surveyor of choice for current and upcoming projects within Yukon’s White Gold District. The Chief Isaac Group of Companies is a diversified services company that creates sustainable wealth for the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in, a self-governing Yukon First Nation located in Dawson City.

KDM Business Development LP Partnership

Challenger signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in 2022 with KDM Business Development LP (KDM) in Saskatchewan. KDM is a Limited Partnership of the Kawacatoose First Nation, Day Star First Nation and Muskowekan First Nation.  Their General Partner, KDM Business Development Corporation KDM Business Development Corporation, has a vison to be innovative in stimulating commercial activity to support a collective economy that is sustainable, profitable and responsive to its Member Nations by being fiscally, socially and environmentally responsible.  Challenger looks forward to collaborating with KDM to secure projects that aligns with this vision including the Jensen Mine track survey for A & B Rail Services Ltd.

Inuvik Tuktoyaktuk Highway Project

Developing Our Partner Relationships

Challenger Geomatics continues to develop partner relationships in the communities where we work. Our majority Indigenous-owned companies are registered in the national Indigenous Business Directory and each has its own Permit to Practice issued by the Association of Canada Lands Surveyors.  Companies registered and operating in the Northwest Territories are also qualified for their Business Incentive Policy (BIP).

We appreciate the many Indigenous clients that we have worked with directly on construction and legal survey projects within their Traditional Territories.  We also continue to provide survey support to Indigenous communities through our work with 3rd party organizations like the First Nations Land Management Resource Centre, National Aboriginal Land Managers Association, First Nations Market Housing Fund, Natural Resources Canada and Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada.

We offer specialized land tenure consulting services and have also completed legal surveys funded through the Canadian government for 14 Comprehensive Land Claim Agreements.

Class Photo - Survey training at Fort Simpson

Commitment to Reconciliation

Challenger Geomatics Ltd. has demonstrated our longstanding commitment to training an Indigenous and Northern workforce. This has included classroom work, training in field surveys, and other targeted initiatives through local post-secondary institutions.

As part of our ongoing commitment to reconciliation, Challenger has outlined several corporate initiatives

  • Engage in Meaningful Consultation
  • Promote Equitable Access to Jobs, Training, and Education
  • Foster Cultural Understanding

As a result of our ongoing training work with Indigenous and Northern Peoples, in 2012 Challenger was the recipient of the Association of Canada Lands Surveyors’ prestigious David Thompson Award for Contribution to Society.

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Indigenous Relations Lead

In 2017, Challenger was proud to create a new position for an Indigenous Relations Lead. Joe Iles works to build on our successful history and develop new strategic partnerships for Challenger.

Joe Iles is a Canada Lands Surveyor (CLS) and long-time Northerner. Joe is an active leader in the survey profession and has been a long-term member of the Indigenous Relations Steering Committee for the Association of Canada Lands Surveyors (ACLS). A natural rapport-builder, Joe has many long-standing relationships and has repeatedly demonstrated his commitment to collaboration and thoughtful engagement.

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