Two guardians mounting a camera on a tree

First-of-Its-Kind Network Led by First Nations Launches to Support Stewardship in Canada

Closing Date:
Friday July 19, 2024

Today the First Nations National Guardians Network launched at the COP15 Biodiversity Summit in Montréal. Minister of Environment and Climate Change Canada Steven Guilbeault announced federal funding for the Network.

The Network will support First Nations Guardians who are helping sustain biodiversity across the country. It will also create a new way for First Nations and Canada to work together.

The First Nations National Guardians Network will celebrate its launch at the Indigenous Village hosted by the Indigenous Leadership Initiative in the Green Zone of COP15.

Information about the National Guardians Network Council is available here, and background on the growth of Guardians programs is available here.

Valérie Courtois, the Director of the Indigenous Leadership Initiative, made the following statement:

“The Indigenous Leadership Initiative is proud to have played a role in launching the Network, and we welcome this federal investment in an Indigenous-led stewardship network. The First Nations National Guardians Network reflects a new kind of partnership between Indigenous Nations and Canada—one that encourages us to come together on equal footing to care for lands, waters, plants, and animals.”

Gillian Staveley, First Nations National Guardians Network Council Member and Director of Culture and Land Stewardship for Dena Kayeh Institute, made the following statement:

“It’s exciting to launch the Network at the COP15 Biodiversity Summit because we hope it can serve as a model for Indigenous Peoples and countries around the world. The Network will be designed and managed by First Nations. It will centre Indigenous knowledge, values, and perspectives. And it will bring a First Nations lens to funding decisions. By investing in the Network, Canada is recognizing First Nations leadership in sustaining lands and waters.”

Marjolaine Tshernish, First Nations National Guardians Network Council Member and Directrice Générale, Institut Tshakapesh, made the following statement:

“Momentum is building around First Nations Guardians. Five years ago, there were about 30 programs. Today there are more than 120 initiatives taking care of our lands and waters. Our Guardians enable our Nations to honour their cultural responsibility to protect our environmental riches while our ancestral traditions are maintained over the course of generations. Our language comes from the territory. It’s the source of our identity. That’s why it’s important to protect Mother Earth. The Network will support getting resources on the ground and create opportunities that would be difficult for one program or one Nation to develop on their own. Together we are stronger. Together for future generations.

Media Contacts:

Sean Durkan: (613-851-2151)

Jenn Wesanko: (604-347-5988)

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