It’s a historic moment for the Coastal Guardians of B.C.
The B.C. government announced last year it would designate Coastal Guardians from two Nations with equivalent B.C. Park Ranger status in an unprecedented memorandum.
“Guardians are the first in Canada to enter into this kind of partnership with BC Parks – and made possible through years of relationship building.”Coastal First Nations
This week, the designation was made official as Kitasoo Xai’Xias and Nuxalk Guardians received their badges in ceremonies on their respective territories along the Central Coast of B.C.
The Coastal Guardian Watchmen program is a collaboration between Indigenous Nations on the B.C. coast to manage and monitor their respective territories, overseeing duties such as search-and-rescue missions, fisheries management, and wildlife conservation.
“Congrats to all involved in making this happen! May the vital work of Guardians continue to be further recognized and supported. Good luck out there this season!”Kate Craig on Facebook
Video shared by the Coastal First Nations, an alliance of coastal Indigenous Nations, shows proud Nuxalk Guardians receiving their distinguished new authority. The video explains, “Guardians are the first in Canada to enter into this kind of partnership with BC Parks – made possible through years of relationship building.”
Facebook commenters like Kate Craig said, “Congrats to all involved in making this happen! May the vital work of Guardians continue to be further recognized and supported. Good luck out there this season! 🚤 🌊 🐻”
Georgina Chief chimed in: “So awesome 👌 👏 👍congratulations 😊 yessss 💯 % need to take care of our own territories… ❤️”
Days before the Nuxalk ceremony, BC Parks met with the Kitasoo Xai’Xais in Klemtu for their badge ceremony, shared in a separate video by Coastal First Nations. In the clip, the Kitasoo Xai’Xais community packs the Big House and cheers for the Guardians as they receive their historic badges.
The partnership between Coastal Guardians and BC Parks collaborates through ancestral and provincial laws to protect the coast.
This new authority is intended to recognize the traditional knowledge of the Guardians, who have been caretakers of their land for thousands of years.
“I love talking to people, greeting them on their territory, and educating them while we are out in the field.”Roger Harris, Nuxalk Guardian
Earlier this year, we spoke to Nuxalk Guardian Roger Harris about his experience becoming a Coastal Guardian.
When he joined the Nuxalk Guardian Watchmen nearly a decade ago, he said the group taught him “the stuff I lost as a child because I was raised in a non-Native home.”
“I love talking to people, greeting them on their territory, and educating them while we are out in the field,” Harris said about his outreach work, one of the many aspects of Coastal Guardians’ duties.
“We get a good response from the people who love to see us do what we are doing,” he told us.