Who are your program champions?
Successful Indigenous Guardian programs usually have champions who recognize the value of the program and go to bat for it. They will speak in support of the program, help raise its profile and rally resources, and think strategically about opportunities to strengthen guardian work. Champions for the program should be cultivated at political, administrative, and community levels.
Who are the champions for Indigenous Guardians in your community and how can you build more champions over time?
One of the most important champions may be the Indigenous Guardian program manager. Strong leadership is needed at this level to manage and build the program, support and recruit staff, and provide day-to-day guidance and structure. The Indigenous Guardian program manager must also hold the big vision for the program, and constantly seek to connect this vision up, down and out.
Reach out and build a network of interest and support among community members, elders, knowledge keepers, harvesters, traditional leaders, elected leaders, and senior administrators. This can lead to people feeling a connection to and sense of ownership over the Indigenous Guardian program. This support is invaluable, and can be readily tapped into when the Indigenous Guardian program needs to demonstrate support from the community and as the guardians go about their work to conduct research, collect data, educate members, inform the public, patrol lands and waters, or enforce policies and laws.
The Engage the Community chapter has lots of ideas and strategies about how to involve your community in your Indigenous Guardian program.