December 2022 Climate Change & Water Newsletter







Tlingit Tradition to Land Protection: Taku River Tlingit First Nation (TRTFN) Land Guardian Program

This fall, we met with Trevor Williams, Land Guardian Program Field Operations Coordinator, and Hannes Schraft, Land Guardian Program Officer.









Kusteeyí, the Tlingit traditional way of life, upholds the TRTFN Land Guardian Program. What began as a community grassroots effort to reduce animal waste during hunting season has grown to six full-time employees, making up one of Canada's flagship Indigenous Land Guardian programs.




Nakina Trail Hike






The nation's 1993 constitution states, “our land looks after us, and we look after the land.” This philosophy prompted Tlingit citizens to patrol the land during hunting season to ensure hunters were not wasting edible parts of the moose, such as certain organs, the nose, and the “bum guts.” Their efforts came to be known as the ‘Bum Gut Patrol.’ The program continued informally until 2013, when the Lands Department established the Land Guardian Program with two part-time guardians.









One of the main challenges in this process was securing consistent funding. In the early days, the program was limited by project-specific funding, leaving gaps between projects. Recently, the program secured core funding from the Province of BC with additional funds from the Canadian government. Hannes, Land Guardian Program Officer, reflects that this consistent funding “allows us to set priorities ourselves, rather than have the priorities be dictated by what’s important to funders.




Joint patrols with conservation officer, police, and other Guardians







The work of the Taku River Tlingit First Nation's Land Guardian program is guided by four main pillars: environmental monitoring, land user monitoring, cultural activities and outreach, and capacity-building. These priorities manifest in a variety of projects for the Nation.










One notable project is monitoring contaminants in local fish and wildlife populations due to heavy metals present in the environment from past mining activities. Traditional foods such as moose are nutritionally and culturally significant for the community. The Guardians' work ensures that these food sources are safe for the community to eat.










The TRTFN Land Guardian Program also bridges across generations. Elders in the community are guardians themselves or act as program advisors. High school students are welcome to apply as youth Land Guardians to work on the land over the summer. A perk of the job is that they also receive credit towards graduation as part of their work. One student has even stayed on beyond the summer to work on the land a few days each month during the school year.










First Nations looking to establish a Land Guardian program are encouraged to explore the Indigenous Guardians Toolkit. “For anyone looking to start a Land Guardian program, that's the first place to go. It's this tremendous resource that basically tells you how to do everything– start the program, create a vision and a plan, find funding, hire and manage staff, and run a safe operation. I would definitely direct anyone in that direction.” -Hannes Schraft, TRTFN Land Guardian Program Officer.











To learn more about the TRTFN Land Guardian program, visit the Nation’s website or contact Hannes Schraft, Land Guardian Program Officer, at





Sheep collaring and mortality investigations

UN Conferences: COP27 and COP 15





Indigenous leaders, youth, and advocates from around the world, including BC joined two major global conferences this year: the UN Climate Change Conference (COP27) in Egypt, from Nov. 6-20, and the UN Biodiversity Conference (COP15) in Montreal from Dec. 7-19.








These COPs are integral to combatting the dual, intertwined crises of climate change and biodiversity loss.  Further, we need more Indigenous Peoples present in international decision-making processes to assert our inherent rights and responsibilities, values, and ways of life.





Learn more about COP27 hereLearn more about COP15 here.


Assembly of First Nations: Setting First Nation expectations





The evidence is clear: we are facing a joint global climate and biodiversity crisis. In July 2019, the Chiefs-in-Assembly declared a First Nations Climate Emergency, recognizing that "climate change constitutes a state of emergency for our lands, waters, animals, and peoples.” 




In recognition of this, the AFN prepared position papers, including key recommendations, in advance of COP27 in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, and COP15 in Montreal.



Emergency Management Engagement (Virtual)

First Nations Emergency Services

The FNLC and First Nations Emergency Management Services are hosting eight virtual engagement sessions to gather critical feedback to inform development of the BC First Nations Regional Action Plan for Disaster Risk Reduction. Please register for your regional session:

If you are unable to participate on your region's date or the general engagement session, please contact


Water Engagement Session

Jan. 25, 2023 | Fairmont Hotel Vancouver

The BC Assembly of First Nations is hosting a hybrid water engagement session at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver and online via Zoom. Presentations will include an overview and legal analysis of Safe Drinking Water Legislation and the FNLC Water Rights Strategy.

Register here


Generation Power Youth

Indigenous Clean Energy

Developed by and for Indigenous youth, Generation Power empowers individuals to bring Indigenous communities to the forefront of the climate change conversation.

First Nation, Inuit and Métis youth from a range of backgrounds/experiences should apply — including professionals, community advocates, academics, and grass-roots organizers.

Learn more here. Apply here.

First Nation Adapt Program

Deadline: None (applications are reviewed on an ongoing basis)

This federal program supports First Nation communities below the 60th parallel to assess and respond to climate change impacts on community infrastructure and disaster risk reduction.

Learn more here.


These internships provide $12,000 to support hiring university students at organizations pursuing climate change mitigation and adaptation research, planning or implementation.

Learn more here.


Prince George Office

1004 Landooz Rd | Prince George, BC | V2K 5S3

Tel. (250) 962-1603

Vancouver Office

Suite 1020-1200 W 73rd Ave | Vancouver, BC | V6P 6G5

Tel. (778) 945-9911