Chapter 3

Start an Indigenous Guardian Program

There is no right place to begin and no right path to follow when building your Indigenous Guardian program. Start where you are, identify what’s driving your need for a program, and build out from there -- piece-by-piece and year-by-year.

Just as no two programs look alike, very few have followed the same path in starting or building their program.

One of the first questions to ask and answer when starting up a program is: why? In your community or context, what is driving the need for a guardian program? It is important to build out a program that is rooted in the priority concerns and key issues that are facing your community. Knowing and being able to clearly articulate this connection to local needs and priorities is key to building support and momentum around the program and developing a focused approach.

Explore this section to learn:

Tipsheet

Tips for Getting Started

  1. Get clear on why you want and need a Guardian program and what issues or priorities you are trying to address.
  2. Consider the real-world context you will be building your program in – a SWOT analysis can help you to do this (SWOT - strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats).
  3. Get community leaders and other community champions involved with the Indigenous Guardian program right from the start to build awareness and support for the program.
  4. Reach out. Build a network of program allies that can support and strengthen the work you are doing in various ways and in different forums – think community, government, private sector, researchers, philanthropy, etc.
  5. Reach out to established Indigenous Guardian programs in other places to learn from their experience, create excitement around your program, and save yourself time and money you might otherwise spend re-inventing the wheel.
  6. Don’t wait for everything to be 100% in place to get going. Just get started and build on the experience, capacity and momentum you’ve built up implementing other initiatives.
  7. Root your program in a few well-run initiatives before scaling up too fast.
  8. Be creative, even in the face of budget constraints, and get Indigenous Guardians out on the lands and waters by any and all means.
  9. Know that building a program takes time, effort, patience and persistence. Help community members understand what it takes to do this work, share information with them, and encourage them to walk the path with you as you develop the program.
Tipsheet

Tips for Getting Started

Worksheet

Overview Worksheet - Starting an Indigenous Guardian Program

This worksheet provides a series of questions to guide you at the beginning stages of getting your Indigenous Guardian program off the ground. Download it now

Worksheet

Overview Worksheet - Starting an Indigenous Guardian Program