From the Haida Nation off the Pacific Coast to the Innu Nation in Labrador, more than 40 Indigenous Guardians programs are managing traditional territories. They test water quality, restore wildlife, monitor mines and other development and serve as ambassadors when tourists visit.

Their work also connects youth and elders and strengthens communities. “We are starting with individuals that we trained as guardians, and those individuals, in turn, inspire others in the community. The community as a whole benefits by this program growing and being strong,” says Councillor Heidi Cook of the Misipawistik First Nation in Manitoba.

In this video, guardians from across the country talk about their work on the land and what inspires them to do it. Derrick Redies of the Ross River Dena in the Yukon says, “As an Indigenous Dene person… we are naturally land stewards. It is our inherent duty, it is a responsibility we have to protect the land.”