Treaty 8 Guardians Gathering


This September, the Indigenous Guardians Technical Support Team (TST) was invited to attend the first gathering of Treaty 8 Guardians in Fort St John. 

This gathering was hosted at the Treaty 8 Tribal Office and brought together the Indigenous Guardians and program managers from West Moberly First Nation, Saulteau First Nation, Doig River First Nation, Fort Nelson First Nation, and Blueberry River First Nation. 

The goals of the gathering were for Treaty 8 Guardians and managers to learn more about each other’s programs, build connections between Nations, explore what the value of regional networks are and to decide if the group would like to continue conversations about forming a network. 

During the gathering, the group made time for a sharing circle that allowed each attendee to introduce themselves, share with one another what their programs are working on and what opportunities they saw for their work, and discuss the challenges that they face. From monitoring wildfires to supporting Elders in the community, it became clear that Treaty 8 Guardians are caring for the land, water and their communities in many ways. Guardians reported feeling less alone and that it was inspiring to know that fellow Guardians were doing similar work across Treaty 8.

The Guardians and managers in attendance also learned more about how other regional Indigenous Guardian Networks are functioning across the country. Presenters from the Ha-ma-yas Stewardship Network shared with the group how they work as a network to connect Indigenous Guardian programs along the north and central coast of Vancouver Island. The Guardians and managers learned how the Ha-ma-yas Stewardship Network is structured and how the Network supports Nations with training and strengthening capacity, data collection, funding and cultural capacity building. 

As a result of this day-long gathering, the Guardians and managers decided to continue to work together, build relationships and stay connected. With many shared goals in mind – protecting their lands and waters, promoting culture and language, and increasing education and knowledge among Guardians themselves and the broader First Nations communities they serve – together, these Nations will continue to work towards stewarding and caring for the land and waters in Treaty 8 Territory.