First Nations Guardians Initiative

This Pilot Program funds First Nations communities to exercise their responsibilities to the land, waters, and ice of their traditional territories. It does this through on-the-ground, community-based stewardship initiatives.

Please note the call for proposals for new (Tier 1) First Nations Guardians’ Initiatives is open from August 31, 2020 to November 30, 2020. If you wish to apply for funding, and have not received the application package, please email ec.gardiensautochtones-indigenousguardians.ec@canada.ca.

Please note that application processes are closed for Tier 2 and Tier 3 initiatives. No application for Tier 2 and/or Tier 3 initiatives will be accepted.

Governance

The First Nations-Federal Pilot Joint Working Group on Guardians (JWG) governs the First Nations portion of the Indigenous Guardians Pilot Program. The JWG is comprised of First Nations Guardians experts and federal representatives.

Joint Working Group Vision

First Nations’ Guardians are initiatives created and defined by First Nations. These initiatives serve as an expression of Nationhood and Cultural Responsibility to First Nations lands and waters. This Nation based model of self-determination and reconciliation is premised on a shared understanding of responsibility, decision-making, connection and respect for Mother Earth.

Our vision gives rise to First Nations, governments, and communities to honour and fulfill our cultural responsibilities to our homelands. This model enables a true Nation-to-Nation partnership with the Government of Canada and provincial and territorial governments on responsible territorial land and marine stewardship. 

The JWG is responsible for setting:

  • funding priorities
  • assessment criteria
  • selection and application process
  • evaluation methods and measurement
  • timelines

The JWG also wants to:

  • empower First Nations through guardians initiatives
  • strengthen the connection between First Nations youth, elders and knowledge keepers
  • promote a nation-to-nation partnership with the Government of Canada

The Joint Working Group will also establish evaluation measures to support a case for long-term funding for Indigenous Guardians and their professional recognition across Canada.

First Nations National Guardians Gathering 2019

The First Nations National Guardians Gathering 2019 was held on March 12-13, 2019, in Vancouver, British Columbia. There were over 340 participants in attendance, including Indigenous Guardians from across the country, ENGOs, industry, federal and provincial government representatives, as well as guests from foundations.

The Gathering provided an opportunity for First Nations Guardians to share their stories and best practices and promote the creation of a National Indigenous Guardians Network. Participants were able to discuss their cultural responsibilities as stewards of the land and the unique relationship between youth and elders in learning and applying both modern science and traditional knowledge in this work. The Gathering was a great success, highlighting the importance and strength of Indigenous Guardians and their contribution to building a bright future in their communities.

Indigenous Leadership Initiative videos of the First Nations National Guardians Gathering 2019:

Application process

Please note the call for proposals for new (Tier 1) First Nations Guardians’ Initiatives is open from August 31, 2020, to November 30, 2020. Instructions on how to apply are included in the application package. If you wish to apply for funding, and have not received the application package, please email ec.gardiensautochtones-indigenousguardians.ec@canada.ca.

Please note that application processes are closed for Tier 2 and Tier 3 initiatives and all funding for Tier 2 and Tier 3 initiatives have been fully allocated. There are no further rounds of funding planned for Tier 2 and Tier 3 at this time. No application for Tier 2 and/or Tier 3 initiatives will be accepted. Learn more about the different tiers below.

Tier-based approach

Funding is allocated under three different tiers of iniatives. The process for Tier 2 and Tier 3 iniatives proposals is complete.

Tier 1: New initiatives (open for the final round of funding)

  • Previous applicants to Tier 1 can reapply, but funding in one year is not a guarantee of funding in a subsequent year.
  • Maximum allocation $60,000 per year for activities completed by March 31, 2021.
  • Total of 10 Tier 1 iniatives will be selected for $600,000 in funding for the fiscal year, nationally.

Tier 2: Established and emerging community initiatives (complete and closed)

  • 3-year iniatives (multi-year)
  • Total available for all tier 2 Guardian groups for 3 years: approximately $2.9M

Tier 3: Established and emerging networks (complete and closed)

  • 3-year projects (multi-year iniatives)
  • Total available for all tier 3 Guardian groups for 3 years: approximately $2.9M

Assessment criteria

The Joint Working Group uses the following criteria to select iniatives.

Clarity of proposal

  • Has clearly stated objectives
  • Has a detailed work plan
  • Has a detailed budget

Governance

  • Demonstrates how the organization or nation has taken care of the land, waters, plants and animals
  • Demonstrates an expression of authority
  • Demonstrates Youth engagement
  • Supports Indigenous knowledge transfer
  • Identifies clearly risks and mitigation strategies
  • Has a clear vision of success and communication mechanisms

Capacity

  • Has successfully completed past projects or activities supporting the initiative
  • Demonstrates capacity-building ability
  • Has invested money in the budget in support of Guardians
  • Identifies the need for the initiative
  • Identifies species of concern to the organization or nation
  • Identifies areas of concern to the organization or nation

Cultural Inclusion

  • Demonstrates cultural inclusion efforts
  • Has clear vision of cultural inclusion in the initiative
  • Demonstrates language revitalization efforts

Community support and engagement

  • Demonstrates community support for the initiative
  • Has letters of support
  • Has plans to maintain or expand community support

Partnership

  • Has existing partnership(s)
  • Demonstrates efforts in developing partnerships

Funded initiatives

Indigenous Guardians Pilot Program map

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