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 7 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, including Inuvik and Tuktoyaktuk, 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 and Metis 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 programs as well as mining and many local construction projects.

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 will be majority-owned by its economic development arm, Det’on Cho Management LP.

Full Announcement

det'on cho challenger 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 Region. The company is majority-owned by the Gwich’in Development Corporation, the economic development arm of the Gwich’in Tribal Council.

Full Announcement

deetrin geomatics logo

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.

Dena Nezziddi

Challenger also has an MOU with the Dena Nezziddi Corporation. This partnership provides economic opportunities to the Ross River Dena Council (RRDC) in Ross River, Yukon. Challenger works with the Dena Nezziddi Corporation to provide geomatics support for mineral exploration, land development, and mine reclamation projects within the Kaska Traditional Territory.

Chief Isaac

In November 2017, we announced the signing of a joint venture between Challenger and Chief Isaac Inc. 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.

Inuvik Tuktoyaktuk Highway Project

Developing Our Partner Relationships

Challenger Geomatics continues to develop partner relationships in the communities where we work. Our companies are registered through the Indigenous Business Directory and BIP Registry in the Northwest Territories as well as prequalified through the Procurement Strategy for Aboriginal Business.

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 and First Nations Market Housing Fund.

We offer specialized land tenure consulting services and have also completed surveys funded through the Canadian government for 13 land claim programs.

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.

Survey training on a total station at Norman Wells

Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business

Challenger is a proud member of the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business (CCAB), and we are engaged in their Progressive Aboriginal Relations Program. The council’s mission is to build bridges between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal peoples, businesses, and communities. They manage a number of diverse programs, provide training tools, and host networking events. CCAB positions Aboriginal businesses as the focal point for strengthening Aboriginal communities, promoting progressive and prosperous relationships, and growing a new economy based on mutual respect and shared prosperity.

Canadian Council for aboriginal business logo

Joe Iles profile picture

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 is currently Chair 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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