A first-in-Canada agreement between the provincial government and two coastal First Nations recognizes thousands of years of stewardship authority and paves the way for a new management model for coastal protection. First Nations are the original stewards of their territories, the eyes and ears of their lands and waters, for thousands of years. The Coastal Guardian Watchmen are the modern version of that ancient tradition, they work together to monitor, protect and restore the cultural and natural resources of their Nations, upholding their Nation’s laws and the traditions passed down for their ancestors. On Wednesday the Kitasoo/Xai’xais and Nuxalk Nations inked a historic deal with the provincial government to launch a pilot project that gives them all the authority of park rangers under the BC Park Act and Ecological Reserve Act.
Following the signing, the three Parties will establish a technical working group to develop mutually agreed to terms of reference to support the implementation of the Pilot Program. Various policies and procedures will also be collaboratively developed.
The Guiding Principles included in the MOU include advancing reconciliation between Nations and the province, recognizing the need for long-term, sustainable and collaborative arrangements, and incorporating traditional knowledge and Indigenous laws, policies and customs.
The Kitasoo/Xai’xais and Nuxalk Nations collaboratively manage more than 40 protected areas in their territories, including Tweedsmuir Park, the Fiordland Conservancy, Kitasoo Spirit Bear Conservancy and Kimsquit Estuary Conservancy.