Story Series: Indigenous Guardians & IPCAs

Indigenous Guardians & IPCAs: Story Series

Indigenous Guardians are the eyes, ears, and presence on the land and water for their communities and people, but what does that role look like when a Nation creates an Indigenous Protected Area?

Nature United's Indigenous Guardians Technical Support Team (the TST), the Conversation through Reconciliation Partnership (CRP), and participants from Indigenous Guardian programs across Canada explored this exciting question during the June 2022 webinar, Indigenous Guardians & IPCAs.

Guest speakers Tara Marsden (Gitanyow), Evan Loveless (Kitasoo Xai'Xais), and Lisa Young (Unama'ki Institute of Natural Resources [UINR]) shared their real-world stories and insights about the important roles of Indigenous Guardians in IPCAs, and what it takes for Indigenous Guardians to adapt to those roles.

The snippets below are excerpts from this larger conversation—showcasing the exciting developments, lessons learned, and plans for the future from Indigenous Guardian programs as they establish Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas (IPCAs).


Kitasoo Xai'Xais

"This agreement didn't come out of nowhere, it is based on a long standing relationship that we have with BC Parks. ... All of our management planning that we do for our protected areas—permitting, research, operations, etc.—is done collaboratively, and that is possible because of the relationships we have built."

Read Evan's full story here.


Lisa Young - UINR

"We are building our management and land stewardship programming to be informed by the land. As our elders would tell us, 'the land will tell you what it needs' ... Whether it's an IPCA or our new forestry programs, we want the information we collect and the decisions being made by our leadership to be informed by the land."

Read Lisa's full story here.


Tara Marsden - Gitanyow

"That's why Indigenous-led conservation is so different and exciting—it isn't static. ... Our management plan is visionary, it isn't about keeping people out and keeping things pristine—that's not how we manage our territory. We're active on our territory. We want to see development, but we don't want to see destruction. That's a very key difference for Indigenous protected areas."

Read Tara's full story here.