From Saving Owls To Removing Garbage: The Work Of Tribal Land Guardians

"Far from untouched wilderness, the Guardians care for their urbanized Homelands with gentle compassion and expertise — and share it all on Facebook".

"“Uncle, want to do the safety check?” Tim Lezard says to his nephew Weston Roberds.

The two men review their personal protective equipment, checking for gloves and garbage bags. The safety check is a critical part of their work, and the first task of each day before they head out on the land.

As land Guardians for the Penticton Indian Band, Lezard and Roberds are caretakers of sn’pink’tn (Penticton). One of the seven First Nations that comprise syilx Nation, sn’pink’tn spans more than 46,000 acres and stretches across the northern tip of the Great Basin Desert.

It’s one of the most sensitive and ecologically diverse places in what has been briefly known as Canada, and its three reserves encompass a varied topography of gentle hills, rocky cliffs and everything in between. Nestled in the southwestern Okanagan Valley, close to Highway 97, sn’pink’tn also borders the cities of Summerland and Penticton. As sqilx’w peoples, Lezard and Roberds continue the tradition of stewarding sn’pink’tn, a responsibility handed down across the generations since Creation. "

Kelsie kilawna reports with text and photographs for The Narwhal Dec. 12, 2023.

Source: The Narwhal, 12/14/2023