Canadian Consulting Engineer

Engineering, architectural firms establish education fund for B.C. Indigenous students

June 22, 2021

The post-secondary education fund will award $5,000 to one successful applicant this November for the 2021/2022 academic year, and for years to come.

A group of engineering and architectural firms have established an education fund for Indigenous students residing in British Columbia.

The first ḴEL,ḴELOŦEN ȻE S,ISTEW̱ award of $5,000 will be presented to one successful applicant this November for the 2021/2022 academic year.

The genesis of the ḴEL,ḴELOŦEN ȻE S,ISTEW̱ education fund stems from a group of consulting firms, engineers and architects, being drawn together to compose a proposal for a large Federal project in the Sidney/Central Saanich area of B.C. As part of this project’s requirements, the team prepared a comprehensive plan to include the communities of W̱SÁNEĆ Nation and Malahat Nation. “The development of the proposal sparked deeper conversations and commitments from the firms to move forward on instigating change, within these Indigenous communities and others like them, across the province,” the companies said in a news release.


Although the team was not awarded the project, they remained committed to creating an education fund, and have now aligned as founding partners to form a steering committee for the fund, which includes the Victoria Native Friendship Centre, Gwaii Engineering, the AME Consulting Group, Diamond Schmitt architects, Number TEN Architectural Group, AES Engineering, and RJC Engineers. Together, they have established an endowment to launch ḴEL,ḴELOŦEN ȻE S,ISTEW̱.

The naming of the post-secondary education fund acknowledges the territories of Lekungen, W̱SÁNEĆ and Malahat Peoples.  The English translation is “a dream for what becomes of you.”

AME Consulting Group and Gwaii Engineering contributed the initial funding for the endowment, solidifying this initiative and bringing together a range of cross-country partners to support the fund’s inaugural launch. The fund’s other founding contributors include: Toronto and Vancouver-based architects, Diamond Schmitt, the Victoria offices of Number TEN Architectural Group, AES Engineering, and RJC Engineers. “Victoria Native Friendship Centre will provide vital leadership and guidance to this group,” the news release said.

“There are very few Indigenous professionals working in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM),”said Kear Porttris, committee chair and Métis engineering graduate. “Many engineering and architecture firms work with Indigenous communities, but few have Indigenous professionals working within their organizations. Our partners recognize this and want to help Indigenous people pursue careers in our industry.”

Students are now invited to apply for the fund. Eligible students must be working toward a career in engineering or architecture and be enrolled in post-secondary studies for the 2021-2022 academic year. The deadline for expressions of interest is Sept. 30, 2021. Fund recipients will be announced on Nov. 15, 2021. For more information on eligibility requirements, please visit:


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