Background Content


Coastal First Nations

July 1, 2020

For thousands of years, First Nations along the Pacific North Coast, Central Coast, and Haida Gwaii, have worked together to carefully manage an abundance of resources—ancient cedars, herring, salmon, halibut, shellfish and more. Given mounting pressures on coastal territories over the past century, from industrial logging, commercial fishing, tourism and climate change, these Nations agreed to work together to create a sustainable, conservation- based economy for their ancestral territories.

Today, Coastal First Nations (CFN) is governed by the Great Bear Initiative Board of Directors, representing the following entities: Council of the Haida Nation, Gitga’at First Nation, Heiltsuk Tribal Council, Kitasoo Band Council, Metlakatla Governing Council, Nuxalk Nation, Old Massett Village Council, Skidegate Band Council, and the Wuikinuxv Nation.


Each Guardian Watchmen program within CFN member Nations has a mandate and distinct set of goals, objectives and priorities, based on the uniqueness of their Nations’ territories and governance structures. And these programs all share a regional stewardship perspective as well, and a recognition that working together can help build knowledge, capacity and success. This collective focus is a big part of what defines the Coastal Guardian Watchmen, and it’s also why they are recognized across Canada and beyond for their success and effectiveness.
The Coastal First Nations Guardian Program – Strategic Plan, released in July 2020, articulates the shared goals and objectives of the Guardian programs within CFN member Nations, and outlines eight Strategic Priorities for enhancing their work into the future.