Indigenous peoples have a special relationship with the environment, caring for the land, water, ice, plants, and animals for generation after generation. Indigenous stewardship and traditional knowledge are invaluable tools in Canada’s efforts to fight climate change and protect a healthy environment for future generations. Indigenous Guardians programs protect healthy habitats for marine and terrestrial wildlife, advance reconciliation with Indigenous peoples, and demonstrate global leadership in protecting our nature.
The federal government is investing $3 million, over three years, to support five Métis Nation-led projects through the Indigenous Guardians Pilot Program. These projects will support the protection and conservation of Métis lands and waters. These projects will also protect clean air and clean water, help fight climate change, and ensure a healthy environment for all. By working together, we are forming true government-to-government partnership between Métis Nations and the Government of Canada.
Métis Guardians will use traditional knowledge and scientific practices in the protection and conservation of their land, water, and the plants and wildlife that call these places home. These projects will empower Métis communities and youth, engaging them in the important work of preserving nature with all its ecosystems, habitats, plants and animals, and protecting a healthy future for all the species that live within nature, including species at risk. The following projects were selected on the recommendation of the Métis National Council’s National Environmental Working Group:
- Askîy, which will identify and monitor environmental indicators in culturally important and sensitive areas for Alberta Métis.
- Métis Youth Boreal Forest Stewardship Program, which will train youth in Manitoba about environmental protection and preservation.
- The Métis Lands and Waters Guardians Program, which will bring scientific and traditional knowledge together for environmental protection in Ontario.
- Métis Nation – Saskatchewan Indigenous Guardians Program, which will train local environmental monitors and environmental emergency responders.
- Supporting Métis Guardians to protect the land and waters in British Columbia, which will protect the environment and connect elders, youth, and communities through Guardians work.
“The federal government is committed to reconciliation with Indigenous peoples. The Indigenous Guardians Pilot Program will support the Métis Nation in managing their traditional lands, waters, plants and animals, while building a strong, government-to-government relationship for nature conservation. The work we do in partnership will build a stronger, healthier, more resilient Canada, ensuring a better future for our children and grandchildren.”
– Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change
“The Métis Nation Guardians projects are based on respect for the special relationship between our citizens and our traditional lands and environments, and will promote the engagement of our young people in conservation and protection.”
– Clément Chartier, President Métis National Council
Budget 2017 committed $25 million for the Indigenous Guardians Pilot Program.
Budget 2018 invested a historic 1.35$ billion to protect Canada’s nature, including the establishment of new protected and conserved areas, including new Indigenous protected and conserved areas, or IPCAs.
The Indigenous Guardians Pilot Program supports Indigenous rights and responsibilities in protecting and conserving ecosystems, developing and maintaining sustainable economies, and continuing the profound connections between the Canadian landscape and Indigenous cultures.
Canada’s network of protected areas plays an important role in helping to mitigate the impacts of climate change by protecting and restoring healthy, resilient ecosystems and contributing to the recovery of species at risk.