First Nations Guardians

The 2024-2026 funding for First Nations will be administered by the First Nations National Guardians Network (NGN).

The NGN is a national non-profit that aims to support First Nations-led stewardship through First Nations Guardians initiatives. They help ensure that First Nations have the tools, opportunities, and investments they need to build and maintain thriving Guardians programs and regional networks. Born from the voices of Guardians at the 2019 National Gathering, with the support of the Indigenous Leadership Initiative and Environment and Climate Change Canada, the NGN is the first Indigenous-led national stewardship network in the world. It is designed and managed by First Nations individuals, and it centers on First Nations knowledge, values, and perspectives.


The First Nations-Federal Joint Working Group on Guardians (JWG) governs the First Nations portion of Indigenous Guardians. 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:

The JWG also wants to:

The Joint Working Group conducted an internal evaluation of the First Nations portion of the Indigenous Guardians Pilot 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

Applications for First Nations Guardians funding are currently closed. For more information about future applications processes, please visit First Nations Nation Guardians Network – NGN, supporting and connecting First Nations Guardians (

Tiered Funding Framework

In previous years, funding for First Nations Guardians has been allocated using a tiered approach.

Tier 1 – Informal/New Initiatives

Tier 2 – Emerging and Established Community-based Initiatives

Tier 3 – Emerging and Established Regional Networks

Common Assessment Criteria amongst Tiers

Funded initiatives

See the Indigenous Guardians map for more information on previously funded initiatives.

For more information

Page details

Date modified: