June 26, 2019 — Canada is supporting Inuit guardian leadership in Inuit Nunangat by investing in the Inuit Guardians Program, a model of conservation in which Indigenous Peoples lead in the planning, stewardship, and management of their traditional lands, waters, and ice.
Canada is supporting six Inuit-led projects under the Indigenous Guardians Pilot Program through an investment of $4.7 million over three years to support ongoing work to protect and conserve the Inuit homeland.
A committee, composed of representatives from the four Inuit regions and co-chaired by Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami and Environment and Climate Change Canada, identified Inuit priorities and projects:
• Munaqsi Community-Based Monitoring, which will use local and traditional knowledge to monitor environmental disturbances and safety hazards in the Inuvialuit Settlement Region;
• Nunavik Guardians, which will expand the monitoring and data collection on wildlife in Nunavik Inuit communities;
• Hebron Ambassador and Nain Conservation Officer, which will support community and visitor engagement in conservation in Nunatsiavut;
• Kugluktuk Angoniatit Monitoring and Management of Fish Resources in Nunavut;
• Qikiqtaaluk Wildlife Board for Community Monitoring of Caribou in Nunavut; and
• Ujjiqsuiniq Young Hunters Program, which will support developing young hunters and trappers as respectful harvesters in Nunavut.
Supporting Indigenous leadership in conservation is a central part of Canada’s work to double the amount of nature protected in Canada’s lands and oceans. Moving forward, the Government of Canada will continue to work closely with Inuit groups to renew Inuit–Crown relationships based on the recognition of rights, respect, and cooperation.
“Canada is committed to reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples. The Indigenous Guardians Pilot Program is designed to give these Inuit groups the support they need to be the best possible stewards of their homelands. I am excited to see these projects move forward and help us all create a better future for our kids and grandkids.”
– Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change
“We know that the health of Inuit Nunangat is inextricably linked to the health of Inuit. Protecting Inuit Nunangat, the Inuit homeland, is an intrinsic part of the Inuit way of life, and this pilot program will facilitate ongoing and new efforts to ensure our environment is safe and healthy for future generations.”
– Natan Obed, President of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami
• In Budget 2017, the Government committed $25 million to the Indigenous Guardians Pilot Program.
• In Budget 2018, the Government invested a historic $1.35 billion in protecting Canada’s nature, including the establishment of new protected and conserved areas as well as new Indigenous protected and conserved areas.
• The Indigenous Guardians Pilot Program supports Indigenous rights and responsibilities in protecting and conserving ecosystems, developing and maintaining sustainable economies, and continuing the profound connections between the Canadian landscape and Indigenous cultures.
• In Budget 2019, the Government has invested $700 million over the next 10 years for Canada’s North, including investments in post-secondary education in the North, new infrastructure, and Arctic research.