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The Haida recognize that nature and culture are intrinsically connected, and that the protection of the natural and cultural values on Haida Gwaii is essential to sustaining their culture. The Haida have always had Guardian Watchmen who protected the land and sea from harm. Guardians and Watchmen now work in fisheries, forestry, heritage and parks programs to support the Council of Haida Nations’ priority to protect the Aboriginal rights and title of Haida people.
The Haida Fisheries Program has two offices - one in Skidegate and one in Massett. Its mandate is to take a lead role in the development of fisheries policy and management affecting Haida Gwaii, consider all fisheries and marine issues, and provide advice to the Council of the Haida Nation about political or other actions. The Program assesses and reviews all commercial and recreational fisheries including annual and long-term management plans, policies and regulations of federal and provincial governments, inclusive ofenvironmental and habitat protection. It also assesses resource developmentplans affecting fisheries resources and freshwater and marine environments. A priority for the Haida Fisheries Program and the CHN Fisheries Committee is the protection of the Aboriginal rights and title of Haida people, particularly related to fisheries and marine resources.
The Haida Gwaii Watchmen Program has a mandate to safeguard Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve. From spring until autumn, the Haida Watchmen serve as guardians at the old village sites found throughout the Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve and Haida Heritage Site. The Watchmen's primary mandate is to protect these sensitive sites by educating visitors about the natural and cultural heritage of Gwaii Haanas. Click here to learn about the history of the Haida Gwaii Watchmen Program.
The Haida vision is reflected in the preamble of the Haida Constitution:
"Our culture, our heritage is the child of respect and intimacy with the land and sea. Like the forests, the roots of our people are intertwined such that the greatest troubles cannot overcome us. We owe our existence to Haida Gwaii ... the living generation accepts the responsibility to ensure that our heritage is passed on to following generations."
What are we monitoring?:
The Haida Fisheries Program currently monitors:
- Recreational and traditional fishing effort
- Creel, coho and chinook salmon, halibut, lingcod, and rockfish species, herring, spawn-on-kelp, razor clams, sea urchin, and geoduck
- Health and recovery of abalone populations in two abalone stewardship areas
The Haida Gwaii Watchmen protect:
- Five most frequently visited cultural sites in Gwaii Haanas: SGaang Gwaii, Gandle K'in, Hlk'yah, T'aanuu and K'uuna.
Relevant documents and websites:
Anita (Upsy) Moody
Haida Gwaii Watchmen