The Tsartlip Stewardship Department has big plans to support the community through drone use and training. 

Drone operator certification is a highly sought-after skill, opening up job opportunities within the Tsartlip community and beyond. That’s why, in February and March of 2023, the Stewardship Department hosted a 5-day drone pilot training for the Tsartlip community. 

The training was a huge success. Approximately 9 Tsartlip community members obtained their drone operation license. Importantly, several women attended the training. According to Stewardship Director Will Morris “There were three successful W̱SÁNEĆ women that attended. There’s a whole movement towards empowering not only Indigenous women but drone pilots as well.”

Shares one attendee “I feel famous now having my drone license because I’m a pilot now! It has opened doors for me. I want to start my own business, to own a female indigenous drone piloting company. There isn’t one yet! Now that I’m drone certified, I want everyone in my community to have that opportunity.” 

In addition to empowering individual attendees, the training’s success also paves the way for future drone training and opportunities to use drones to support the Tsartlip community as a whole. 

Morris envisions drones will be used both at work in the Tsartlip community and to support Tsartlip community events. For example, drones might be used for search and rescue, to monitor environmental sites, to monitor shipping through Tsartlip territory, to provide footage of the annual canoe races, and to experience community celebrations from a new perspective. 

With so many new drone operators in the community and plenty of opportunities to use drones, the Stewardship Department is prioritizing purchasing some drones of its own. In particular, the Department is considering purchasing a waterproof Splash Drone to film activities on the water. Also under consideration is perhaps a drone with LiDAR mapping technology; a technology that uses eye-safe laser beams to create a 3D representation of the surveyed environment.

Morris and the Stewardship Department are working on setting up an advanced drone operator certification program for the community. The Department is excited about the employment opportunities the drone operator certification will create within the Tsartlip community and beyond. 

The drone initiatives are just one way the Stewardship Department is working to empower community members with high-value workplace skills. 

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