Land keepers celebrated at National Guardians gathering

By Patrick Quinn  Local Journalism Initiative Reporter The conservation movement was celebrated at the largest ever First Nations National Guardians Gathering in Ottawa May 9-11. Since the first gathering in 2016, the number of guardians programs across the country has quadrupled from 30 to more than 120. Co-hosted by the Indigenous Leadership Initiative (ILI) and the new First Nations National Guardians Network, the event brought together over 250 guardians and 100 allies for three days of sharing circles, “small wigwam” workshops, ceremonies and entertainment. “This was about showcasing the work and elevating the voices of guardians,” said ILI executive director Valerie Courtois. “It’s an initiative that changes lives.” It wasn’t until a gathering in 2014 that these programs began to organize collectively. The ILI was asked at that time to…

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