Building a vision: what do you want to achieve?

Your vision is an expression of what you hope to achieve through your Indigenous Guardian program. When you look into the future, what will your program be doing and what impact will it have? A well-developed vision can guide your program over time, reflect your community’s priorities, and connect your work to the broader goals of your community, organization or Nation. Aim for your vision to be ambitious, inspiring and focused on the future. Aim for it to also be grounded in reality.

"Building a Dehcho Stewardship Vision" provides a great example of a thoughtful and community-driven process to build a vision for stewardship and guardian work on Dehcho lands.

See below for a Tipsheet on Questions to Answer Before you Develop a Vision and a Tipsheet on Considerations for Building a Vision:

    Tipsheet

    Questions to Answer Before you Develop a Vision

     

    What should you think about before you develop a vision?

    • It might be helpful to talk through the current “lay of the land” before you start a visioning process so that everyone involved has a strong sense of where you are starting from. Try having the conversation about strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of your existing or new Indigenous Guardian program before jumping into the visioning process. It can help you envision an aspirational future but one that still has two feet planted on the ground.  

    Who should be involved in developing a vision?

    • Good visioning typically involves a lot of different voices. To do this work well, you may want to bring together political and cultural leaders, key departmental or programming staff, elders, youth, community members, and other valued advisors. Generally, the more you invite people to help shape your program, the more support you will have as you move forward.

    Has your community already articulated a vision about the stewardship of your territory?

    • Work may already have been done by your community to lay out a vision for the future stewardship and management of your lands and waters. This may have been developed through planning processes, negotiating treaties or settlement agreements, establishing agreements related to stewardship, or may be articulated through your Indigenous laws and customs or by elders and leaders in your community. If this work has been done, take a step back and consider how the vision for your guardian program fits into and complements other vision statements that have been articulated.

    How will your vision connect with other strategic goals of your organization or community?

    • A simple bubble sketch can be a great way to start mapping out the connections between your program and other levels of stewardship governance, planning and activity within your community. It is important to situate the vision for your guardian program within this larger context and communicate a compelling reason or need for the program so that you can provide clear direction on the scope and focus of guardian activities.
    Tipsheet

    Questions to Answer Before you Develop a Vision

    Tipsheet

    Considerations for Developing a Guardian Vision

    Process - How you bring people into the visioning process is important. There may be cultural or organizational norms in your community that can help guide you. You may want to develop a mix of approaches for how people can participate in a visioning process. Some approaches to consider include:

    • Hosting a facilitated workshop.
    • Developing structured committees or advisory groups.
    • Organizing community meetings.
    • Conducting one-on-one interviews or surveys

    Facilitation - You may want to bring in a facilitator, advisor, or respected elder to help design or support a visioning process.

    Location - You may also want to think about where you conduct your visioning work – is it important to be on the land, should meetings be held in your office, is a community gathering place more appropriate?

    Agenda - Some discussion questions that might help your group think about your vision include:

    • What is the big picture change we want to work toward with our Indigenous Guardian program?
    • What is it we want our Indigenous Guardian program to achieve in 5, 10, or 15 years?
    • What will be different from where we are at right now once we begin implementing the program?

    Communications - Be sure you keep people informed and engaged as you go so they understand how their contributions are integrated into the vision and plans for your guardian program.

    Tipsheet

    Considerations for Developing a Guardian Vision

    “We have a clearly articulated vision and strategic plan. This has been our saving grace. We are always going back to it. It gives us the mandate and provides direction on an ongoing basis. Even if it takes a year or two to get to this, it’s worth it. People need to buy in and believe it.“

    Ken Cripps, formerly of the Central Coast Indigenous Resource Alliance
    Quote

    “We have a clearly articulated vision and strategic plan. This has been our saving grace..."

    Story

    Building a Dehcho Stewardship Vision

    “Developing a stewardship vision for the Dehcho took time and had to be done the Dehcho way,” explains Dahti Tsetso, Resource Management Coordinator, Dehcho First Nations. “We did the first workshop on the land, in the bush, and this helped create the right setting. We’d start each workshop by feeding the fire.

    Story

    Building a Dehcho Stewardship Vision

    Community resource

    Dehcho K’ehodi - Final Workshop Report

    The Dehcho K’ehodi - Final Workshop Report was shared by Dehcho First Nations (DFN).  Dehcho K’ehodi (Taking Care of the Land) is DFN's stewardship program. DFN has been exploring ways within their existing capacity and authority to take care of the land.

    Community resource

    Dehcho K’ehodi - Final Workshop Report