Environment and Climate Change Canada has announced close to $6 million in funding for 28 Indigenous Guardians programs across the country, part of the federal government’s commitment to support Indigenous stewardship of their ancestral territories.
Representatives from CFN-GBI were on hand to accept funding for the Coastal Guardian Watchmen, who play a critical role in stewardship activities along BC’s North and Central Coast and Haida Gwaii. “This support provides a welcome boost for dedicated Guardians who monitor and patrol our coastal territories,” says CFN-GBI Board member Doug Neasloss, Chief Councillor for the Kitasoo Band Council. “The funding will help keep our eyes and ears on the coast, ensuring rules and regulations are followed, and that land- and marine-use agreements are implemented effectively.”
The Indigenous Guardians Pilot Program will inform a long-term approach to providing support for Indigenous communities to uphold their responsibilities across the country. These responsibilities include protecting natural ecosystems and preserving culture, while developing and maintaining sustainable economies. This initial funding supports Indigenous Guardian initiatives at all stages of development—from recent startups to well established stewardship efforts, such as the Coastal Guardian Watchmen.
“As stewards of our territories, it’s our responsibility to uphold the laws and authority of our ancestors,” says Metlakatla Stewardship Director Ross Wilson, adding that Coastal Guardian Watchmen have been working together as an Indigenous Guardian network for more than 13 years. “Modern stewardship efforts within CFN-GBI communities are based on each Nation’s mandate to protect these coastal territories. We are pleased to accept this funding and will share our lessons learned with other Nations and programs as they continue to steward their own territories.”
The federal government’s Pilot Program will support a broad range of initiatives related to Indigenous stewardship, including: monitoring and research; land- and marine-use management and planning; traditional knowledge gathering; species protection and habitat restoration; as well as training, outreach and education to help build further capacity.
For more information on funded programs, please see the Indigenous Guardians Pilot Program map.
About Coastal First Nations-Great Bear Initiative
CFN-GBI is an alliance of First Nations on British Columbia’s North and Central Coast and Haida Gwaii, aiming to restore ecologically, socially and economically sustainable land, water and resource management approaches throughout these coastal territories. Nations include Wuikinuxv, Heiltsuk, Kitasoo/Xaixais, Nuxalk, Gitga’at, Metlakatla, Old Massett, Skidegate, and Council of the Haida Nation.
About Coastal Guardian Watchmen
A regional network that collaboratively stewards coastal territories along BC’s North and Central Coast and Haida Gwaii, the Coastal Guardian Watchmen monitor, protect and restore the cultural and natural resources of their Nations, and uphold laws and traditions passed down from their ancestors.
Doug Neasloss, CFN-GBI Board – (604) 354-5989
Ross Wilson, Metlakatla Stewardship Director – (250) 615-8329