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Steve DeRoy receives Esri Canada’s Making a Difference Award

DeRoy recognized for using GIS and mapping to support Indigenous rights and interests 

TORONTO—November 14, 2022—Esri Canada today presented Steve DeRoy of The Firelight Group with the Making a Difference Award. The award recognizes organizations or individuals who, through the use of geographic information systems (GIS), have made a positive impact in their community and are contributing to a better world. DeRoy co-founded The Firelight Group in 2009, which provides mapping, research and consulting services to support the rights and interests of Indigenous and local communities in Canada and beyond.

“Steve’s work is truly making a difference in building the capacity of our Indigenous communities. By applying his mapping expertise to lead Indigenous knowledge research for numerous Indigenous groups affected by large-scale developments, he is helping connect Indigenous and settler communities together to create solutions for our shared futures,” notes Alex Miller, president, Esri Canada.

“Mapping is critical to supporting Indigenous rights and interests, decolonizing place and space, and sharing Indigenous stories of the land. With GIS becoming more powerful and easier to use, it provides opportunities for widespread use among Indigenous communities,” says DeRoy. “I am honoured to receive the Making a Difference Award. Since 2014, The Firelight Group and the Indigenous Mapping Collective have been increasing spatial and technological literacy among Indigenous communities globally. Through our partnership with Esri Canada, we have been delivering culturally safe curriculum, access to technology, and providing opportunities for skills enhancement.”

DeRoy is Anishinaabe/Salteaux and is a member of Ebb and Flow First Nation in Manitoba. Since 1998, he has mentored Indigenous practitioners, conducted risk assessments, built decision-support systems and monitoring tools, supported land claims, developed best practices, established consultation processes, facilitated community engagement and planning approaches, and supported negotiations between Indigenous communities, governments and industries. DeRoy is an international speaker and has presented at numerous conferences, university lectures and events.

In 2014, DeRoy founded the Indigenous Mapping Workshop (IMW), with a vision to build a conference that gave Indigenous peoples direct access to the tools and training they need to map their lands. The Indigenous Mapping Workshop is now organized annually by The Firelight Group with strategic partners including GIS education specialists and Indigenous community partners.

In 2020, the IMW was rebranded as a part of the global Indigenous Mapping Collective. It is a virtual space for mappers and trainers to share knowledge and resources with each other and view IMW content on demand. There are now more than 1,600 members from across the globe.

About Esri Canada 
Founded in 1984, Esri Canada provides geographic information system (GIS) solutions that empower people in business, government and education to make informed and timely decisions by leveraging the power of mapping and spatial analytics. These solutions enable organizations to better manage their resources, plan their future and collaborate within and beyond their organization. Esri Canada’s products and services help advance successful digital transformation. The company serves 12,000 organizations from 15 offices across Canada and is based in Toronto. In 2019, Esri Canada achieved Platinum Club status with the Canada's Best Managed Companies program by retaining its Best Managed designation for seven consecutive years or more. More information can be found at Follow Esri Canada on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and LinkedIn.


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