Indigenous Leadership Initiative and Canadian Geographical Society documentary

November 16, 2021

The Indigenous Leadership Initiative and the Royal Canadian Geographical Society – have formed a ground-breaking partnership to produce a documentary series about Indigenous Guardians caring for lands and waters across the country.
This collaboration grows out of shared values and concerns. In the age of climate change and loss of biodiversity, both ILI and RCGS want to highlight Indigenous leadership in sustaining animals and plants, clean air and water, and healthy people and communities.
The series will include seven 60-minute documentaries, as well as a feature-length film developed for international audiences. Sharing Chief Bellegarde’s enthusiasm Charlene Bearhead, Director of Reconciliation for the RCGS, states “Guardians are the climate and environmental heroes of today who carry the practices, science and knowledge of their ancestors to combat the dire challenges the planet is now facing.” Bearhead concludes, “The stories of the incredible work of Guardians are needed now more than ever. All Canadians, and indeed all global citizens, need the experiences, wisdom and hope that Guardians bring. This Indigenous led partnership is the key to that hope.”
“Elders tell us that if we take care of the land, the land takes care of us. Guardians help honour this responsibility, and it’s great to know more people will see them in action—and through an Indigenous lens,” said Dahti Tsetso, Deputy Director of ILI. Dene Filmmaker Amos Scott is working with the ILI and RCGS team to help develop the series with Indigenous onscreen protocols at its foundation. He will lead a team of Indigenous directors and creatives who will drive the production of the series.

Indigenous Guardians serve as the “moccasins and mukluks” on the ground for Indigenous Nations. They are trained experts who manage protected areas, restore caribou, salmon, and other species, and monitor development. There are more than 70 Guardians programs in the country, helping honour the cultural responsibility to care for lands and sustaining natural systems all life depends on.