I3 Innovator Cheakamus Foundation

Building for a Greener Future Together

Indigenous Innovator Announcement | Cheakamus Foundation

Building for a Greener Future Together.

This pilot project is created in collaboration with Aboriginal Housing Management Association and the Cheakamus Foundation for Environmental Learning and British Columbia Institute of Technology located on the unceded traditional territories of the Coast Salish Nations of Skwxwú7mesh, səl̓ilwətaɁɬ (Musqueam) and the xwməθkwəy̓əm (Tsleil-Waututh) people.  Student learning will take place in part at Cheakamus Centre in Brackendale, BC, Canada. The land Cheakamus Centre is situated on has always been a place of learning for the Chʼiyáḵmesh people, who for millennia have passed on their culture, history, and traditions from one generation to the next on this site.

This pilot Passive House training course is designed for, and will be co-created with, Indigenous women and 2SLGBTTQQIA+ people who have an interest in pursuing leadership roles and careers in the green building industry. Over the coming weeks we will be building a diverse and inclusive project team of learners, educators, community and industry leaders.

i3 Innovator Template image - Cheakamus Foundation

Building for the Future Together is the development of a project-based high performance buildings training course to address Indigenous gender inequalities in the sector. In collaboration with the British Columbia Institute of Technology’s School of Construction, we anticipate engaging with Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish) Elders, Knowledge Keepers, educators, learners and industry leaders to collectively design, test, learn and exchange high-performance building knowledge and Indigenous ways of knowing in real world contexts. The first of its kind, the course content will combine a hands-on deep energy retrofit of a heritage cabin with interactive online and in-class leadership and skills training. This hybrid learning course will incorporate the goals and values of Indigenous women and 2SLGBTTQQIA+ people, and integrate Indigenous perspectives and the concept of collective responsibility for the land and the interconnectedness and interdependence of all life forms. 


“In the words of the project lead: ‘it’s important now more than ever to revitalize our Indigenous communities and use the resources we have to create a community with traditions, acceptance, language and guidance’. This project has the potential for substantial impact as it creates meaningful pathways for Indigenous women and gender diverse people to create futures within what is currently a male-dominated high-performance building sector, while transforming it through the uptake of Indigenous ways of knowing and being.”

- Sara Wolfe, Director, Indigenous Innovation Initiative


Bringing an Indigenous perspective of collective responsibility for the land, and the interconnectedness and interdependence of all life forms to sustainable building practices, design and construction while incorporating the goals and values of Indigenous people, Indigenous women and 2SLGBTTQQIA+ people. 


This innovation exposes and addresses the complex challenges and barriers Indigenous women and 2SLGBTTQQIA+ people face, not only as a societal norm, but specifically in the trades. This project raises global awareness of Indigenous perspectives, knowledges, and practices while offering a greener solution for sustainable building and land responsibility.