Indigenous Guardians and Indigenous leadership are very important for nature conservation in Canada.
Valerie Courtois, Director of the Indigenous Leadership Initiative, speaks passionately about the importance of Indigenous Guardians and need for Indigenous leadership in nature conservation.
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VALÉRIE COURTOIS (Director, Indigenous Leadership Initiative):
What gets me up in the morning is trying to ensure that every community in Canada… Indigenous community in Canada can have guardians if they want them.
And then envisioning what that would do to transform this country if every Guardian… every community had Guardians, I think it would change the very nature of the conversation around development and conservation in Canada.
Guardians are what I lovingly call… you know, to use the, “boots on the ground,” there are moccasins and mukluks on the ground, and so they’re basically representations of the community, who do everything from planning to management to consultation to creating relations with industry and other land users.
And so, it’s hard to describe. It sounds like they do everything, but they actually do everything when it comes to the land.
And, to me, like I’m about just over 20 years into my professional career; I have to tell you, if I had known when I was a youth that Guardians was an option for me, I would have been a Guardian. And now it’s my way of kind of doing what I can to give that option to others.