Chapter 5

Set up a Governance Structure

The structure and governance of your Indigenous Guardian program is an important thing to consider early on.

Finding a structure that works with the unique conditions in your community can help to ensure that:

  • Your guardian program is effective.
  • Your guardians feel valued.
  • Guardian’s work influences activities and decisions in your territory.

It can also help ensure that the knowledge and information your program generates (i.e. public interactions, field observations, data collection, and monitoring information) is utilized to its fullest potential and can inform things like referrals, land and resource negotiations, management planning, and business decisions.

There is no right way to structure or organize your guardian program. Every community or organization will find a unique and appropriate way to do this.

Explore this section to learn:

  1. How your Indigenous Guardian program can be structured.
  2. How your Indigenous Guardian program can be governed.
  3. Where your Indigenous Guardian program can live.
  4. Some attributes of strong governance.

 

Tipsheet

Tips for Program Structure and Governance

  1. Get clear on what you want your Indigenous program to achieve and how this relates to the goals, objectives and strategic priorities of your Nation, organization, community etc.
  2. Look at existing organization(s) or departments and identify where your program can best be situated to maximize program support and capacity, resource efficiency, and program impact.
  3. If there are no existing organizations or departments that are a strong fit for your program, you may need to restructure or create something new.
  4. Be open to alternative models – like housing your program within a non-profit entity or independent corporate structure.
  5. Reach out to key internal and external players to participate in governance, advisory or management roles.
  6. Continually cultivate program champions and cheerleaders inside your organization and externally.  
  7. Commit to program accountability and transparency to ensure that the program is not sidelined or the subject of suspicion or criticism based on lack of information.
  8. Regularly engage and invite feedback from community, partners, allies, stakeholders and others to ensure your program remains responsive, focused on priorities, etc.
  9. Physically locate your Indigenous Guardian program where it can have maximum connectivity with other strategic initiatives and with the community. Look for opportunities to share space and avoid isolating the program and program staff
Tipsheet

Tips for Program Structure and Governance

Worksheet

Overview Worksheet - Set up a Governance Structure

Use this worksheet to think through some of the structural and governance questions you might want to consider as you establish your Indigenous Guardians program. Download it now

Worksheet

Overview Worksheet - Set up a Governance Structure