Guardian Watchmen: Upholding Indigenous Laws to Protect Land and Sea

Guardian Watchmen, environmental enforcement, marine protection, Indigenous law
Alex Kirby
Jana Kotaska, Coastal Stewardship Network

For thousands of years, the Indigenous peoples of the place now known as British Columbia have protected and managed the lands and waters of their territories. In recent years, many Indigenous nations have continued to uphold their governance responsibilities and this long tradition of stewardship through the creation of ‘Guardian Watchmen’ programs. During a time of unprecedented environmental disruption, the wisdom and knowledge contained within these traditions has assumed an even greater importance. Guardian Watchmen follow, enforce, and uphold these traditions not merely on behalf of their own nations, but on behalf of all Canadians.

This brief explores some of the roles Guardian Watchmen play in monitoring and enforcement of laws in their territories, and in fulfilling their responsibilities to the land and water.

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