For over three years, the Gwa'sala-'Nakwaxda'xw Nations have been the southernmost band to participate in this vital coastal awareness program.
Guardian Watchmen are the nation’s eyes and ears in the Gwa'sala-'Nakwaxda'xw Nations' traditional territory, observing and protecting marine and land habitat from potential illegal activities and notifying the public about sensitive cultural areas.
Guardian Watchmen are all the people who monitor and protect the lands and waters on their territory to ensure a vibrant future for generations to come. These men and women carry forward the work of their ancestors to manage and respect their natural and cultural resources through traditional laws. Guardian Watchmen may have titles such as resource technicians, fisheries guardians, park rangers and community watchmen.
Guardian Watchmen monitor the health of important food, social and ceremonial species and the impacts of various resource uses throughout their territory. They work in forestry, fisheries, and parks and contribute to the successful implementation of land and marine use plans and other sustainable resource management initiatives.
Every community has dedicated people who are committed to the stewardship of their territory. Some communities have fisheries staff who play an important role as Guardian Watchmen, other communities have staff who are responsible for monitoring activities in conservancies and working with visitors to the territory. Each Nation has a unique approach to monitoring and stewarding their respective territory. All Nations are interested in empowering and strengthening their Guardian Watchmen and working with neighbouring Nations to ensure a united and collective presence on the coast.
As the original stewards of their territories, First Nations are responsible for governing and managing their lands and waters. First Nations have the authority and responsibility under traditional laws to protect important wildlife species, food sources, and significant cultural resources. With government cut-backs and increasing pressures on coastal resources, there has never been a more important time to strengthen Guardian Watchmen programs. We count on Guardian Watchmen to make sure the Coast is managed responsibly.
The Network supports local Guardian Watchmen programs to achieve their collective vision of ensuring a vibrant future for generations to come: As First Nations we govern our ancestral traditional territories and safeguard the health of our ecosystems. We are the Guardians and Watchmen of our territories. We are men and women carrying forward the work of our ancestors to manage and respect our lands and waters through our traditional laws to ensure a vibrant future for generations to come. We work with our neighbouring Nations to create a united and collective presence within our territories. From Northern Vancouer Island to the Central Coast to the North Coast and Haida Gwaii, we are working together to monitor, protect and restore the cultural and natural resources in our territories. As the Guardian and Watchmen of our ancestral traditional territories we will steward our marine and terrestrial natural and cultural resources to ensure that they are sustainably managed.
We derive our authority and jurisdiction from our traditional laws to manage and safeguard the lands and waters of our territories for the health of future generations.
To learn more, visit http://coastalguardianwatchmen.ca/