For as long as settlements have existed along the Pacific Coast, First Nations people have cared for the region’s lush ecosystems and abundant wildlife.
Although separated by vast distances, towering mountains and deep waterways, these Nations share similar traditions and customs, and a connection with and responsibility to protect and manage the coastal ecosystems that sustain them.
For decades, First Nations’ governance of their own territories was disrupted or outlawed by colonial governments, and modern Guardian Watchmen programs worked largely in isolation. Today, First Nations are taking back their governance role as managers of their resources and guardians of their territories, an effort buoyed by recent Canadian court decisions ruling in their favour.
In 2005, stewardship leaders from BC’s North and Central Coast and Haida Gwaii agreed it was time to work together to form a collective presence on the coast. They wanted to create a standard training program and a collective monitoring system. As land and marine plans were finalized, they knew it would be most effective to work together to implement them and other sustainable resource management initiatives.
That initial plan for collaboration led to the creation of the Coastal Guardian Watchmen, a regional initiative that continues to monitor, steward and protect these coastal territories.
NATION-BASED GUARDIAN WATCHMEN PROGRAMS
Although Coastal Guardian Watchmen provides a regional focus, each Nation has a unique program that monitors and stewards its respective territory, and carries on its own stewardship traditions.
Find out more about local Guardian Watchmen programs by following the links below.