Canada has announced $825,000 ($608,00 USD) over three years will be given to Makivvik Corp. to support the development of two new Guardians Programs to provide an Inuit presence in Torngat Mountains National Park.
The Guardians will deter illegal activities and give Nunavik Inuit beneficiaries the chance to spend time in the Labrador park, stay at Torngat Mountains Basecamp and Research Station, and connect with the lands and the people.
Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for Parks Canada, visited the park Aug. 15 to 18 and saw the essential role Inuit leaders are playing to take care of the land, water and ice. Parks Canada, along with the Labrador Inuit and Nunavik Inuit, have been co-managing the park since it was established in 2005.
“The Government of Canada has said we were going to do conservation differently,” Guilbeault said in a news release. “Indigenous groups need to be at the table from the start of the process, helping to lead conservation efforts. Canada can only meet its climate change and biodiversity targets through Indigenous-led conservation initiatives like what we are seeing with the Guardians program across the country.”
Indigenous Guardians are the “eyes and ears on the ground” in Indigenous territories, and a unique example of reconciliation in action. They monitor ecological health, maintain cultural sites, and protect sensitive areas and species, while strengthening the social and cultural ties of their communities.
Since 2018, the government has supported more than 170 Guardians initiatives at Parks Canada administered places. Each initiative is co-developed with Indigenous partner who then take the lead with the support and contribution of Parks Canada. In 2021, the federal government boosted funding for Guardian initiatives to $100 million ($74 million USD) with a goal of supporting 1,000 programs.