Resources in chapter Learn About Indigenous Guardian Programs

Section: What do Indigenous Guardians do?

Info sheet

Description of Some Typical Indigenous Guardian Activities

  • Actively patrol, monitor and demonstrate a presence on lands and waters.
  • Integrate local and traditional knowledge to manage and steward lands and waters.
  • Maintain and promote cultural continuity (youth elder mentorships, on-the-land youth programs, subsistence harvesting, language camps, etc.).
  • Monitor, research and collect data on priority issues (i.e. wildlife, climate, contamination, visitor impacts, illegal activity, compliance, etc.).
  • Analyze and use data collected to inform and influence management plans and decisions.
  • Prioritize and conduct ecological restoration work.
  • Work with the community and general public to ensure that laws, regulations, guidelines, and protocols are understood and followed.
  • Build relationships with and educate other resource users about key stewardship and management issues.
  • Support implementation of resource management plans and agreements.
  • Advance and uphold Indigenous authority to steward lands and waters.

Guardians may also fill a host of other roles such as park management or emergency response depending on the program’s priorities and resources.

In addition to paid program staff, many Indigenous Guardian programs also rely on community volunteers who are active on the land and water, and who can contribute significantly to the collection of local knowledge and other observations.

Info sheet

Description of Some Typical Indigenous Guardian Activities

“Indigenous Guardians programs strengthen our communities. They create jobs, lower crime rates and improve public health. But most importantly, they inspire our young people. They connect them to the land and their elders. They give them professional training tied to their language and culture. That offers hope that can combat the despair so many Indigenous youth feel today.”

Quote

"Indigenous Guardians programs strengthen our communities..."

Story

Indigenous Guardian Program Spotlight - Ahousaht Stewardship Guardian Program

Section: What are the benefits of Indigenous Guardian programs?

Story

Quantifying the Values and Benefits of Indigenous Guardian Programs on the coast of BC

“Having all of the benefits and activities of our Coastal Guardian programs written down in this report is so helpful because it provides a framework as our Guardian program continues to evolve and grow.  I can also use the findings in this report as ‘evidence’ when talking with government, industry and funders about the importance of our Guardian programs.” Ross Wilson, former Metlakatla Stewa

Story

Quantifying the Values and Benefits of Indigenous Guardian Programs on the coast of BC

Community resource

Analysis of Current and Future Value of Indigenous Guardian Work in Canada’s Northwest Territories - Indigenous Leadership Initiative and Tides Canada

Community resource

Valuing Coastal Guardian Watchmen Programs: A Business Case

This business case analysis of Coastal Guardian Watchmen programs was conducted by EPI International and commissioned by Coastal First Nation Great Bear Initiative and TNC Canada. The report examines the net value of program costs and benefits from the perspective of the First Nations that have these programs.

Community resource

Valuing Coastal Guardian Watchmen Programs: A Business Case

Community resource

Coastal Guardian Watchmen: A Case for Investment

The research presented in this report responded to the question: Is there a Case for Investment in Coastal Guardian Watchmen programs – specifically from the perspective of the general public and other government agencies? The findings chronicle the many contributions and benefits of Coastal Guardian Watchmen, lending insight into this driving question.

Community resource

Coastal Guardian Watchmen: A Case for Investment

Section: Where are some established Indigenous Guardian programs?

Community resource

On the Ground Indigenous Stewardship Programs Across Canada – Inventory Project – TNC Canada

'On the Ground Indigenous Stewardship Programs Across Canada – Inventory Project' shared by TNC Canada is an inventory of existing on-the-ground stewardship programs conducted in 2015 that documented 22 programs across Canada. Profiles of each community and program provide details about the type of stewardship work engaged in, successes, challenges and opportunities.  

Community resource

On the Ground Indigenous Stewardship Programs Across Canada – Inventory Project – TNC Canada

Section: How are Indigenous Guardians connecting across Canada?

Worksheet

Worksheet: Hosting or Going on a Community Exchange

Going on or hosting an exchange is a great way to get inspired, share knowledge and learn about another community’s Indigenous Guardian Program. Regardless of your goal, this worksheet can help you plan and prepare for a community exchange.

Worksheet

Worksheet: Hosting or Going on a Community Exchange

Tipsheet

Tips for Indigenous Guardian Community Exchanges

Going on or hosting a community exchange is a great way to get inspired and share knowledge about Indigenous Guardian Programs. Below are some tips to support you as you prepare for a community exchange.

  1. Set up 3-4 virtual planning meetings in advance of the exchange to help ensure everyone has the same information and goals in mind.
  2. Allow time for both communities to share what they’re interested in learning from each other. This can help members decide on activities and create an agenda for the exchange.
  3. Together with your exchange partner, develop an exchange budget and discuss what each community is responsible for.
  4. Planning an exchange takes time and effort. Be mindful that both visiting and hosting communities have enough lead time to plan the exchange and get their crews ready.
  5. Involve members from the host and visiting community in drafting a proposal that clearly identifies and describes the goals and desired outcomes of the exchange.
  6. Expect the unexpected and be flexible. Crews may need to change their schedule, activities may change, other things may come up. Stay adaptable and go with the flow!
  7. Schedule time after the exchange to debrief with your crew and broader team. Share highlights of your trip, what you learned or were inspired by, and how to integrate these learnings into your program.
Tipsheet

Tips for Indigenous Guardian Community Exchanges

Tipsheet

Hosting a Community Exchange

Hosting a community exchange can be a fulfilling and enriching experience. Below are some tips to support you as you prepare to host a community exchange:

  1. Consider hosting visitors at a time of year when you can be out on the land, water, and/or ice. Your visitors will likely be very excited to spend time out on your territory.
  2. If you need support hosting your visitors, reach out as soon as you can to the people in your community who can support with accommodation, transportation, and food.
  3. Make sure your crew has enough time budgeted to participate in and lead activities for your visitors. Avoid hosting when your crew is in their busiest season.
  4. Help your visitors prepare for their time in your community. Create and share a packing list so they can come to the exchange prepared.
  5. Help your visitors understand what they can expect or may experience during the visit. For example, if you are on a body of water, provide tips for being on a boat (including wearing PFDs, dealing with seasickness, etc.).
  6. Consider what information to share with your visitors beforehand so they can learn more about your program, community and territory before they arrive. This may include any relevant information about your community or Nation’s protocols.
  7. Think about who else in the community (besides people involved with your Guardian Program) could be interested in sharing with, and learning from, your visitors. Perhaps there are leaders, Elders, youth, knowledge holders, or other people who could be involved in the exchange.
  8. Consider scheduling down time and fun activities with your crew during the exchange. Sometimes the best conversations happen over meals, a fire or time spent relaxing.
Tipsheet

Hosting a Community Exchange

Tipsheet

Being a Visitor on a Community Exchange    

Being a visitor on community exchange is a privilege and a great opportunity to learn about another Guardian Program. Below are some tips to support you as you prepare to go on exchange.

  1. Spend time with your crew preparing for your exchange. Learn as much as you can about the community and territory you are going to visit. Ask the host community if there are resources or documents you could review ahead of time.
  2. Make sure you come prepared. Communicate with your crew about what gear, clothes, and other materials they need to bring to be comfortable during the exchange. 
  3. Before you go on exchange, have your crew come up with questions and topics they’re interested in learning about.
  4. The best exchanges are when both communities learn from each other. Think about your own strengths as a program and how you could share what your program is doing with your host community.
  5. Consider building in time during the exchange for your own crew to focus on team building and fun. Participating in a community exchange can be a good chance for your crew to bond and develop skills.
  6. Show your appreciation to your host community. In addition to covering your part of the exchange budget, consider bringing gifts and other things to share. Traditional foods, program swag, or other items can be a great way to thank your host community.  

 

Tipsheet

Being a Visitor on a Community Exchange