Kitasoo Xai’Xais and Nuxalk Guardians Now Have Park Ranger Authority

The Kitasoo Xai’xais (pictured here) and Nuxalk Nations have had long-standing Coastal Guardians and Watchmen programs and are involved in monitoring more than 40 protected areas, such as Tweedsmuir Park, the Fiordland Conservancy, Kitasoo Spirit Bear Conservancy, and Dean River Conservancy. Photo credit: Emilee Gilpin on Coastal First Nations

In a historical ceremony, both the Kitasoo Xai’Xais and Nuxalk Guardians have received their Park Ranger badges. This Park Ranger designation gives Kitasoo Xai’Xais and Nuxalk Guardians the legislative authority to conduct compliance and enforcement activities within their territories. 

On BC’s coast, we have seen what happens when bureaucrats in Ottawa are the decision-makers. We have seen a maximum yield approach, which has ignored spatial marine management and put numerous species, including herring, Pacific salmon, and southern resident orcas, in jeopardy. Ottawa’s failure to defend BC’s coast from threats, such as commercial fishing fleets, bottom trawling, industrial run-off, and shipping, has contributed to more than 30 BC marine species being at risk, and has negatively impacted the economic viability of coastal communities. 

Because of this program, Indigenous Coastal Guardians now have the same legal authorities as park rangers within the parks and protected areas in their ancestral territories. Photo credit: Coastal First Nations on Facebook.

Fortunately, the Kitasoo Xai’Xais and Nuxalk Nations have stepped in to take control of their marine resources. The two nations are part of the Central Coast Indigenous Resource Alliance, which is guided by a sustainable ecosystem-based framework for marine management. They are also members of the larger Coastal First Nations 

Why is this excellent news? Because all CFN Nations have robust Guardian programs and are already managing and patrolling their waters, which they will continue to do as members of the Great Bear Sea MPA Network. Who better than Nations and communities who rely on the ocean for their livelihood to ensure sustainable harvesting practices? It only makes sense for the people who have lived on the land and water for generations to manage their resources. Those who depend on local natural resources in this way will ensure sustainable practices and have the expertise to carry out ecosystem-based marine resource management.  

Read this excellent West Coast Now article to learn more.