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We are the Nuxalk Nation with our territory located in and around Bella Coola on the Central Coast of BC. Subsistence activities on these lands and trading with other Nations have always been central to our way of life. The Nuxalk are salmon people of the rainforest and without healthy and abundant lands and water, our very existence is seriously threatened. We maintain our rights and title to our traditional territory and continue to strive to maintain our traditional systems of governance and power.
The Nuxalk Guardian Watchmen Initiative involves staff of the Nuxalk Integrated Resource Office. Our programs focus on salmon and other fish species, with a clear goal to implement projects in conservation, assessment, enhancement, and monitoring (i.e. cultural and village sites, forestry practices and areas important to community resource harvesting). The Nuxalk Guardian Watchmen will work closely with the Nuxalk Fisheries Department that operates a scientific-based research facility that also conducts resource monitoring and enforcement activities to protect salmon and other species and their habitats.
Our Nuxalk identity and spirit are connected directly to our ancestral land and aquatic resources. We know that one will not survive without the other. Our Nuxalk ancestors were one with the land and water. This ensured that all Nuxalk were provided for without sacrificing the needs of future generations. It is our responsibility to honour the wisdom of our ancestors and respect what is provided to us by Tataw.
Many Nuxalk marine resources have suffered a steady decline, some of which are near extinction and require immediate attention. The ooligan comes in such low numbers that the traditional harvest no longer exists. Ceremonial and social impacts are felt by these low food fish returns. Historic and modern practices of the commercial industry continue to impact our way of life.
Our hereditary chiefs, elders and community leaders are leading the way to ensure that our people are always provided for. Nuxalk ancestral laws and knowledge will guide marine and land resource management. It is now time for Nuxalk to re-establish a healthy balance with our environment. Our Nuxalk customs, traditions, and spiritual values will provide a means of self-reliance and social well-being.
As Nuxalk, we stand together with pride and unity to ensure that our marine and land resources and cultural values are managed with authority and integrity to provide for all Nuxalkmc.
The goals of the Nuxalk Guardian Watchmen Initiative are to:
- Develop a strong and effective Guardian Watchmen Initiative
- Participate in monitoring and protection of Nuxalk territory
- Educate, inform and work with resource users
- Enable community involvement and stewardship
- Work effectively with enforcement agencies
- Influence resource planning and decision-making
What are we monitoring?:
The Nuxalk Guardians monitor human resource use activities occurring within Nuxalk territory in addition to conducting assessment on important species (e.g. ooligan and salmon). Specific activities include: ichthyoplankton river and estuary sampling, stream assessments, and stock assessments. Nuxalk River Monitors have an enforcement protocol with DFO and have a work-share relationship with Snootli Creek Hatchery.
The Nuxalk Guardian Initiative is involved with the following projects:
- Bella Coola River Monitoring
- Nuxalk Ooligan study
- Nuxalk Atnarko Sockeye enhancement
- Monitoring Nuxalk territory (i.e. cultural sites, village sites, human use activities, FSC fisheries, forestry activities, wildlife sightings)
Relevant documents and websites:
Nuxalk Guardian Watchman Manager
Nuxalk Stewardship Director