VICTORIA, BC, CNW — Indigenous communities have long been stewards of the environment, and the Government of Canada shares their commitment to conserving and protecting Canada’s nature, our diverse ecosystems, and species at risk.

Today, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Catherine McKenna, announced that 28 Indigenous projects have been selected for early funding totaling just under $5.7 million as part of the Indigenous Guardians Pilot Program. The Pilot Program recognizes Indigenous Peoples’ rights and responsibilities to the land, waters, and ice of their traditional territories and provides support for environmental conservation. The federal government is supporting First Nation, Métis, and Inuit communities in their stewardship work to protect sensitive areas and species, monitor ecological health, and maintain Indigenous cultural sites. This funding will support new and existing Indigenous guardians, programs across Canada.

Through the Pilot Program, the Government is working closely with First Nation, Métis, and Inuit groups to develop an individual approach. As part of the Government of Canada’s ongoing reconciliation efforts, the Pilot Program aims to design and support programs that reflect each group’s unique rights, responsibilities, and perspectives.

The Government of Canada will continue to strengthen its partnerships with First Nations, Inuit, and Métis, renewing our nation-to-nation relationships based on recognition of rights, respect, and cooperation. The federal government is proud of the work done together through the Pilot Program to conserve biodiversity and protect a healthy natural environment. Together, we are ensuring that a safer and cleaner world is passed on to our kids and grandkids.

“Our Government is committed to reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples. Indigenous communities are deeply connected to the land and understand the importance of acting now to protect Canada’s environment and conserve biodiversity. The Indigenous Guardians Pilot Program gives First Nations, Métis, and Inuit the support they need to be the best possible stewards of their traditional lands, waters, and ice. The work we do together today will ensure a healthier environment for the generations that follow,” said Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change.

Quick Facts

  • Budget 2017 committed $25 million for the Indigenous Guardians Pilot Program, which has received more than 60 applications for consideration.
  • One of the key aspects of the Pilot Program includes the development of a national Indigenous guardians, network to help support the program in the long term.
  • This program supports some of the key goals of Canada’s Nature Legacy, which will help Canada ensure healthier habitats for species at risk, advance reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples, and demonstrate global leadership in achieving its 2020 conservation targets.