How have other Indigenous Guardian programs got their start?
There are many ways that Indigenous Guardian programs get started. In some places, guardian programs have been established from scratch. Others have grown out of pre-existing programs and evolved into guardian programs over time. Others have come about as result of merging a communities’ monitoring and stewardship activities to form a more integrated or structured guardian program.
Similarly, there are many reasons Indigenous communities establish or build a guardian program. Some typical drivers behind the startup of a guardian program include:
- Community-driven planning processes around land and water management that highlight the need for Indigenous guardians to provide an increased presence on the land and more influence and authority over resource decision-making.
- Negotiating and implementing resource agreements or impact benefit agreements that provide direction or resources needed to establish or strengthen a guardian program.
- Establishment and implementation of treaties, final agreement, settlement agreements that include direction to establish Guardian programs or related roles and responsibilities.
- Specific threats to culturally or ecologically important species or areas that are not being addressed adequately.
- An urgent call by community leaders or elders to reconnect people to their lands, traditions, foods, and culture and to safeguard these things for current and future generations.
- Communities’ involvement in targeted research or monitoring initiatives that leads to increased capacity and skills that then lay the foundation for establishing a guardian program and working in other areas where the community has concerns, responsibility or jurisdiction.
Regardless of what the drivers are behind your Indigenous Guardian program, there are a number of things you can do to get your program off the ground. Learn how three communities got started.