By Benjamin Powless Local Journalism Initiative Reporter Moccasins on the ground The federal government and the Indigenous Leadership Initiative launched the First Nations National Guardians Network at the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity Conference of the Parties in Montreal December 9. Over 170 Indigenous guardian programs already exist but only became a national network with the announcement of the new organization. Environment and Climate Change Canada had previously committed $60 million to the guardian initiatives, increasing the funding to $100 million in 2021. Up to 1,000 Indigenous guardians will be funded to “monitor ecological health, maintain cultural sites, and protect sensitive areas and species,” according to the federal announcement. Guardians will essentially function as park and game wardens while serving as environmental monitors, both informing and enforcing community policy
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