The Indigenous Leadership Initiative – is promoting a federally funded, Indigenous-led National Indigenous Guardians Network in Canada that supports development and employment of guardians across the country. This network has generated broad support, including from the Assembly of First Nations which passed a resolution in 2015 calling for a national Guardians program.
The movement to create a National Indigenous Guardians Network gained ground when the government of Canada included an initial investment of $25 million over 5 years in the 2017-2018 federal budget. While this investment will not enable new guardian programs to be established immediately, this seed funding will help develop the national network and prepare Indigenous Nations and communities to launch their own Indigenous Guardians programs.
Guardians are employed as the “eyes on the ground” in Indigenous territories. They monitor ecological health, maintain cultural sites and protect sensitive areas and species. They play a vital role in creating land-use and marine-use plans. And they promote intergenerational sharing of Indigenous knowledge—helping train the next generation of educators, ministers and nation builders. The Indigenous Leadership Initiative is proud to have partnered with Dechinta Bush University in developing the Guardians Pilot Program, a training opportunity focused on core skills guardians need to conduct land use planning and other management projects.