Inuit guardians program
Based on the Australian model, the Indigenous Guardians program supports Indigenous land management and oversight in their territories based on a cultural responsibility for the land.
The program provides training and career opportunities for Indigenous Peoples to work as equal partners with governments and industry on the protection and management of land and resources.
Inspired by other Guardian and Watchmen programs at cooperatively managed places, Parks Canada worked with the Franklin Interim Advisory Committee to develop a Guardians Program for the wrecks of HMS Erebus and HMS Terror, which began in 2017.
Each summer, community members from Gjoa Haven undertake their duties at Guardian camp locations near both wreck sites.
The Guardians program involves Inuit in the protection and monitoring of the wreck sites and contributes to further integrating Inuit knowledge into site operations. When possible, the Guardians work closely with Parks Canada’s Underwater Archaeology Team during their work each summer.
Eventually, the Guardians will play a key role in hosting visitors to the wreck sites – sharing knowledge and Inuit culture and presenting the Franklin story as well as monitoring the two wreck sites.