Government of Canada supports two new Guardians Programs in Torngat Mountains National Park to protect Inuit lands and the communities it nurtures
Supporting Inuit access on Inuit homelands
August 18, 2023 Kuujjuaq, Quebec Parks Canada
Indigenous Guardians are the “eyes and ears on the ground” in Indigenous territories, and a unique example of reconciliation in action. They monitor ecological health, maintain cultural sites, and protect sensitive areas and species, while strengthening the social and cultural ties of their communities. The Government of Canada is committed to supporting leading indigenous-led conservation initiatives as part of a renewed relationship with Indigenous peoples based on recognition, respect, cooperation, and partnership.
Today, the Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for Parks Canada, announced $825,000 over three years to Makivvik Corporation to support the development of two new Guardians Programs, which will provide an Inuit presence in Torngat Mountains National Park to deter illegal activities; and, provide Nunavik Inuit beneficiaries the opportunity to spend time in the park, stay at Torngat Mountains Basecamp and Research Station and connect with the lands and the people.
The announcement follows Minister Guilbeault’s trip into Torngat Mountains National Park from August 15 to 18, where he met with representatives from the Nunatsiavut Government and of the Makivvik Corporation during his time in the region. Parks Canada, along with the Labrador Inuit and Nunavik Inuit, have been co-managing Torngat Mountains National Park since it was established in 2005.
Since 2018, the Government of Canada has supported over 170 Guardians initiatives, which have contributed to the development of capacity and employment in Indigenous communities across the country. In December 2022, Minister Guilbeault announced the new First Nations National Guardians Network to expand and support individual First Nations Guardians initiatives from coast to coast to coast.
“The Government of Canada has said we were going to do conservation differently. Indigenous groups need to be at the table from the start of the process, helping to lead conservation efforts. Canada can only meet its climate change and biodiversity targets through Indigenous-led conservation initiatives like what we are seeing with the Guardians program across the country. After my visit to the Torngats, I have seen firsthand the essential role Inuit leaders are playing to take care of the land, water and ice here. These new Guardian initiatives will go a long way to helping them in their role as leaders of conservation and strengthen their communities.
The Honourable Steven Guilbeault
Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for Parks Canada
“This announcement is truly welcome news. Providing Inuit ongoing access to the land is good for our people and for the land. This Guardians Program will allow Nunavik Inuit to share their knowledge, expertise and will facilitate access to the land for the people — to ensure our ways are protected and continued for generations to come.”
President, Makivvik Corporation
Each Indigenous Guardian Initiative at Parks Canada administered places is co-developed with Indigenous partners. They then lead the initiative with the support and contribution of Parks Canada. These initiatives help maintain and revitalize their connections to the lands, waters, and ice that support the knowledge, law and governance systems that underpin Indigenous stewardship practices.
In 2021, the federal government increased funding in support of Guardian Initiatives to $100 million with a goal of supporting 1,000 Guardian Initiatives nationwide.
Parks Canada received up to $61.7 million from Budget 2021 for Indigenous Guardian Programs at Parks Canada administered places. As part of this new initiative, Parks Canada is working with Indigenous partners to enhance existing programs and aims to co-create between 30 and 35 new Indigenous Guardian Programs at Parks Canada administered places by 2025-2026.
Parks Canada is currently working with Indigenous partners to determine the location of the new Guardian Programs by 2026. Preliminary discussions are also taking place with the Indigenous Leadership Initiative regarding collaborative support mechanisms for communities under the Guardian Program administered by Parks Canada.
Parks Canada and Indigenous people work together to develop interpretive materials and activities at national historic sites, national parks, and national marine conservation areas to foster a better understanding of Indigenous perspectives, cultures, and traditions.
Office of the Minister of Environment and Climate Change
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