Indigenous guardians, leaders hope to build a national watchman program

Shaunna Morgan Siegers was first called by the land and water when she was 18, halfway through her first year at university. She says she could see herself sitting on the high banks of the Rupert River, looking west at the setting sun. She headed home, to the Waskaganish First Nation on the southern shores of James Bay, in northern Quebec.

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Indigenous guardian patrols offer ‘eyes on the land’ across Canada

When flooding last year broke open a fish ladder that allowed spawning salmon to get upriver near Cache Creek, B.C., locals trained as “guardians” from the nearby First Nation responded to the disaster first. They’d been warning about a growing hole in the critical fisheries structure—which looks like a stairway covered in water—for years. When it tore open, they followed their training and jumped into action.

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First Nations guardians gathering aims to grow movement and lobby for sustained funding

Efforts to expand the number of Indigenous guardian groups across the country are the focus of a gathering in downtown Vancouver this week. There are more than 40 guardian programs across the country that have Indigenous people working as the eyes and ears on their territories when it comes to things like conservation planning, wildlife management and environmental monitoring.

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Indigenous guardians raise the alarm on impact of climate change in Canada

Growing up in a small, remote First Nations community in northwestern British Columbia, Jarett Quock found he faced racism and stereotypes from non-Indigenous people whenever he left the reserve. The treatment took a toll on him, damaging his pride in his Tahltan Nation roots.

It was only after he began work as an Indigenous guardian – monitoring the effects of climate change on his territory – that he recovered his confidence. “Being a guardian has helped me so much on a personal level,” Quock, 31, said in an interview.

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TESTIMONY: Submission to the Special Senate Committee on the Arctic

Now is a pivotal time. Canada has vowed to double its protected lands by 2020 and many Indigenous Nations have proposed new protected areas. Supporting Indigenous-led conservation is the most efficient and most effective way for Canada to reach its goal. This country has a special responsibility to act. Canada…...

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BACKGROUNDER: Indigenous-Led Conservation from Australia to Canada

Canada has committed to protecting at least 17% of lands and freshwaters by 2020 as part of the global effort to stem the tide of animal and plant extinctions. The most effective way for Canada to reach this goal is to support conservation work led by Indigenous Peoples. About 11%…...

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Vast region of Northwest Territories declared an Indigenous Protected Area

A vast region of the Northwest Territories that local Indigenous people call their “breadbasket” because of the abundance of wildlife has been declared permanently off limits to resource development, eight years after the federal government tried to open it to mining.

The Edéhzhíe, a 14,250-square-kilometre plateau west of Great Slave Lake, was declared an Indigenous Protected Area in Fort Providence, NWT, on Thursday afternoon. Federal Environment Minister Catherine McKenna and leaders of the Dehcho First Nations that call the region home attended the ceremony.

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Anishnaabe territory straddling Manitoba and Ontario named Canada’s first mixed UNESCO World Heritage site

A vast region of boreal forest straddling the Manitoba and Ontario border has been named the first mixed cultural and natural UNESCO World Heritage site in Canada, a tribute to the area’s exceptional biological diversity as well as to the enduring presence of Indigenous people.

After years of lobbying by local First Nations, and more than a decade of support from the governments of both provinces as well as the government of Canada, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization awarded the rare designation Sunday to the Pimachiowin Aki.

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RELEASE: UNESCO declares Pimachiowin Aki Canada’s first “mixed” cultural and natural WHS

The UNESCO World Heritage Committee today inscribed the Pimachiowin Aki boreal forest spanning the Manitoba–Ontario boundary as a World Heritage Site, recognizing the outstanding universal value of both its cultural and natural features. The decision ends one journey for the four Anishinaabe First Nations who have worked through two previous nominations to achieve success, and the beginning of a new one for the Pimachiowin cultural landscape, home to Indigenous peoples for more than 7,000 years.

Pimachiowin Aki has agreed to share their official press release on this website. Open the link below to view it.

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STATEMENT: Ministers’ Meeting Builds Momentum on Conservation, Indigenous Peoples Ready to Partner

From the Sahtu in the Northwest Territories to the Misipawistik Cree Nation in Manitoba, First Nations are moving forward on conservation....

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Press Contact

Sean Durkan
sean.sda.inc@rogers.com
(613) 841-6944

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