This profile is one of fifteen stories examining youth involvement in community economic development (CED). The profiles have been produced as part of the Canadian CED Network's efforts to encourage effective practices in youth leadership and engagement to enhance the social and economic conditions of Canada's communities.
QQS Society is a registered charity and enterprising nonprofit established by the Heiltsuk First Nation on the remote central coast of BC in 1999. The Society was established to support Heiltsuk youth, culture and the environment and is backed by the Hemas, the traditional hereditary leadership, as well as the wider Heiltsuk community. The QQS Society operates the Koeye Lodge and the Culture/Science camp programs located at the mouth of the Koeye River, 30 miles south of Bella Bella. Koeye is pronounced "Kway" and means "bird sitting on the water." Koeye is also considered a centre of Heiltsuk spiritual energy. It is here that Heiltsuk youth celebrate their cultural history and renew their spiritual connection to the land that has sustained their ancestors for centuries. The Koeye programs, including the Lodge and its programs for ecotourism and healing are youth directed by young Heiltsuk people in the QQS Society. The programs promote healing, education, capacity building and community development.
This profile will outline how this remote First Nation community is providing space for incubating youth-led CED initiatives, and at the same time strengthening its capacity for self-government and entry into a conservation economy through running Koeye Lodge as an enterprising non-profit.