Indigenous Guardians are a formidable presence on the coast of British Columbia, Canada. The concept is an ancient one, pointing to the role First Nations have had in monitoring and stewarding their own territories since time immemorial. As a profession, guardianship has emerged in Canada only in recent years, becoming established in Haida Gwaii and then filtering out from there. And today the concept is exploding, with Guardian programs establishing themselves across Canada.
Their work includes patrolling for poachers, interacting with commercial harvesters and rescuing wayward tourists—but most people are not aware this work is even happening. This project will use the Guardians' patrol data to reveal how much of the coast is being covered by Guardian patrols, and what they're accomplishing on the land.
This development has profound implications for sovereignty of First Nations, with the nations themselves taking charge of many of the duties normally associated with the state. First Nations are developing protocols, research methods and regulations, and projecting them throughout their traditional territories, a reversal of the colonial structures in which they have operated before this point.
The reporting for this project will whenever possible follow best practices for reporting in Indigenous communities, including hosting a community event to thank the community, gift-giving, and respect for Elders' time and knowledge.
This project will feature video, photos, text and interactive maps, hosted on The Narwhal.