The Case for Indigenous Guardian Programs

Indigenous Guardians monitor and protect the lands and waters on their territory. They are the “eyes and ears” of a First Nation on the ground. Guardians monitor the activities of resources users, enforce federal, provincial, and Indigenous laws, gather data on the ecological health and wellbeing of traditional territories, compile data to inform Nation resource decision making, and engage in community outreach and education about conservation of cultural and natural resources. In BC and around the world, Guardian programs have built a remarkable record of success.

Developed with the BC First Nations Energy and Mining Council, The Case for a Guardian Network Initiative called on governments to provide major funding and law reform to support Indigenous Guardian groups, which monitor and enforce environmental laws on their territory. It includes a comprehensive survey of over 70 Guardian-type initiatives globally and documents a dramatic positive outcome for the environmental stewardship and enforcement benefits these programs achieve, including the potential to monitor and protect watershed health.

It’s our understanding that the provincial and federal governments are examining our report, and we hope this will lead to specific actions in the future to support these important initiatives that could transform on-the-ground and water monitoring and enforcement activities.