Guardian Programs Get Nod In New Federal Government Budget

Ahousaht Resource Stewardship Guardians
Ahousaht Resource Stewardship Guardians leave the dock in Tofino, on Vancouver Island, for their daily patrols. The First Nation started its Guardian program in May 2016. © TNC Canada

 

For the first time ever, Guardian Watchmen programs have been officially recognized as the public service that they are – by inclusion in the federal budget released yesterday by the Government of Canada. As a new piece in DeSmog Blog Canada reports, a newly announced $25 million for indigenous guardian programs in Canada is seed money that will help First Nations develop a national network to assist in launching of additional guardian programs.

The DeSmog piece also cites recent research on already existing indigenous guardian programs in the Northwest Territories. It showed how every dollar spent on these programs generates $2.50 in social, economic, and environmental benefit.

Of course, such findings are no surprise to Coast Funds members (read more Guardian program stories here), or people like Valérie Courtois, director of the Indigenous Leadership Initiative.

“[Indigenous Guardians programs] create jobs, lower crime rates and improve public health,” says Courtois. “But most importantly, they inspire our young people. They connect them to the land and their elders. They give them professional training tied to their language and culture. That offers hope that can combat the despair so many Indigenous youth feel today.”

Read more in DeSmog Canada.

[Indigenous Guardians programs] create jobs, lower crime rates and improve public health. But most importantly, they inspire our young people. They connect them to the land and their elders. They give them professional training tied to their language and culture.