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Indigenous Social Innovation


Last month Skookum Lab was recognized with a national award for Innovative Indigenous Research.


Since 2017, Sheldon Tetreault Consulting has supported one of the first Indigenous social innovation labs in Canada.


Skookum Lab was convened by the Surrey Urban Indigenous Leadership Committee to tackle Indigenous child poverty in the City of Surrey. “Skookum” means strong, powerful, and brave. Last month, Skookum Lab was recognized with a national award for Innovative Indigenous Research.


By any measure, Skookum Lab has been incredibly successful at disrupting the systems that create and sustain Indigenous child poverty in Surrey. There is so much more work to do, yet the social innovation journey has resulted in a stronger urban Indigenous community, more connected and resilient, and better equipped to make the City of Surrey a great place to raise an Indigenous child. Along the way, we used social innovation in a very Indigenous way.


There is a lot of buzz about social innovation in the last few years. If you are interested in learning more about social innovation generally, and Indigenous social innovation specifically, I encourage you to take a look at some of the learning that came out of Skookum Lab. Here is a link to a “lessons learned” document about the Skookum Lab social innovation journey. Here is a link to a podcast about Skookum Lab’s experience with Indigenous social innovation. It features Sheldon in conversation with Jeska Slater (Director of Indigenous Priorities at Vancouver Foundation) and podcast host Cheryl Rose.