Minister Guilbeault kicks off the Indigenous Nature Conservation Virtual Film Festival

News release

June 21, 2022 – Gatineau, Quebec

Environment and Climate Change Canada is launching a special week-long Indigenous Nature Conservation Film Festival, featuring nine short films on nature conservation initiatives from across Canada beginning today, on National Indigenous Peoples Day, through its social media accounts. Indigenous leaders show us the lands, wildlife, and cultures they have protected for millennia and will continue to nurture for the future. Videos highlight the strengthened partnership between Indigenous Peoples and the Government of Canada to formally protect and conserve more lands and oceans across the country.

The film festival will kick off with a Facebook live chat today at 4:00 p.m. (EDT) with the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, the Honourable Steven Guilbeault, interviewing Director Valérie Courtois and Deputy Director Dahti Tsetso of the Indigenous Leadership Initiative on the subject of Indigenous Guardians.

Whether it is the efforts of Fort Folly First Nation in New Brunswick protecting traditional lands, or the Guardians work of Dene Tha’ First Nations in Bistcho Lake, Alberta, the Festival lets us discover the beauty of the music, words, scenery and commitment to nature conservation expressed in each unique story.

Indigenous Guardians is an Indigenous initiative led by First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities across the country. This work highlights what Indigenous Peoples have always done on these lands, waters and ice to monitor ecological and climatic health, maintain cultural sites, and protect sensitive areas and species in their traditional territories.


“Partnerships with Indigenous Nations are central to Canada’s strategy for protecting and conserving nature. Canada has a plan to protect 30 percent of our lands and waters by 2030. There is no path forward to achieve this strategy without the support, leadership, and knowledge of Indigenous communities.”

– The Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change

“Guardians are often called the moccasins and mukluks on the ground. They represent their Nations and communities. And they do everything from managing lands to monitoring water quality to doing climate research and creating relations with industry and other land users.”

– Valérie Courtois, Director of the Indigenous Leadership Initiative

Quick facts

  • Since 2018, the Government of Canada has supported the Indigenous Guardians initiative by investing more than $25 million in funding for over 100 community initiatives, leading to the creation of jobs by Indigenous Peoples while protecting nature and wildlife. The federal government is expanding the program, committing $173 million in 2021 toward new and existing Indigenous Guardians initiatives and the development of Indigenous Guardians Networks for First Nations, Inuit, and Métis.

  • At their core, Guardians initiatives reconnect Indigenous Peoples to their relationship with the lands, waters, and ice of their traditional territory. This connection leads to profound benefits for both nature and the humans that rely on it. These benefits span across generations—healing communities, creating opportunities for youth, and engaging Elders for their guidance.

Associated links


Kaitlin Power
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Environment and Climate Change

Media Relations
Environment and Climate Change Canada
819-938-3338 or 1-844-836-7799 (toll-free)

Environment and Climate Change Canada’s Twitter page

Environment and Climate Change Canada’s Facebook page

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