Skookum means: STRONG, POWERFUL, and BRAVE.
With a strong leadership, powerful methodologies, and a brave community, Skookum Lab has developed new ways to address Indigenous child and youth poverty in Surrey.
While almost half of Surrey's Indigenous population is under 25 years old, 37% Indigenous children and youth live in poverty in Surrey.
Convened by the SUILC, Skookum Lab puts Indigenous wisdom at the centre of its approach to tackle Indigenous child and youth poverty.
OUR GOAL is to make Surrey a great place for Indigenous children and youth!
Why Focus on Indigenous Child and Youth Poverty in Surrey?


Surrey is home to a growing Indigenous community that is now the largest in the Province. 
At the same time, the rate of Indigenous children and youth poverty in BC's second-largest city is among the highest in Western Canada.
This pervasive poverty allows inequities to flourish and keeps Indigenous children at a social disadvantage from their non-Indigenous peers.
What is a Social Innovation Lab?
A social innovation lab:     
• Creates understanding about a complex issue• Commits to action and testing solutions (“prototyping”)• Uses systems thinking• Incorporates thoughtful experimentation as a design principle• Includes diverse stakeholders including people impacted by the issue• Intentionally aims to transform systems that create and sustain the issue.
Skookum Lab addresses the high rate of Indigenous child and youth poverty in Surrey by uniting people that experience  poverty, making their lived experience visible, and honouring the wisdom of the urban Indigenous community.
What is Indigenous Social Innovation?


While talk about social innovation is very new in Canada, its methods and approaches share a lot in common with Indigenous ways. 
Guided by our overarching commitment to decolonization, justice and equity, we propose that the key difference in our context is our commitment to "Our Guiding Principles". 
Skookum Lab’s core guiding principle is centring Indigenous wisdom.
Since time immemorial, Indigenous Peoples have been practicing community-centric models to solve complex issues.
What is Our Process?
Skookum Lab launched in April 2018. This three-year funded social innovation lab consisted of four phases: community engagement and research, defining the systemic issue, creating promising initatives to address the issue (known as prototypes) and implementing these iniatives . Also, the lab applies the SUILC Community Engagement Policy within our process.
In all, more than 1,000 people were involved in the lab’s engagements!
Skookum methodologies are comprised of:
  • Small group discussions
  • Art and culture-based projects
  • Facilitated engagement exercises with large groups
  • Key informant interviews
  • Literature reviews of Indigenous poverty reduction and 2016 Census data