Frequently Ask Questions

Q) What does Ha-ma-yas mean?

A) In the Kwakwala language, Ha-ma-yas means the place we go to gather food. In taking care of our lands and waters, the Guardian Watchmen and First Nations stewards are also working to protect the sources of our physical and cultural sustenance.

Q) If a Guardian Watchman approaches me while I am out in my boat or on the land, what can I expect?

A) The Guardian Watchmen and other stewardship staff are very knowledgeable about our territories and how they are regulated, and well-trained in environmental good practices and behaviour. Don’t hesitate to ask them for information and help. They can provide useful information about these matters; answer your questions about regulations of activities in our territories and about required permits and licences; let you know about things you have to watch out for and areas to take special care; and assist in emergencies.

Q) How can I find out more about the activities of the Guardian Watchmen?

A) Information about the First Nations who are part of the Ha-ma-yas network and their current activities is set out on their Member Pages. Links to the First Nations’ contact information is on the Contact Us page. If this information doesn’t answer your questions, please don't hesitate to call the Nanwakolas Council office at during business hours (8:30am - 4:30pm).

Q) What does a First Nation wanting to start its own Guardian Watchman program need to consider?

A) Guardian Watchmen are highly trained individuals. They need to be skilled in a wide variety of areas, including water and boat safety, regulatory issues, environmental concerns and dealing with the public. You will need to consider how many Guardian Watchmen you need and want in your territory, and how to ensure that employee training and the program are funded and managed for long term sustainability.

Consistency in approach up and down the coast, and collaboration with other First Nations in stewardship activities, are key contributors to the success of a Guardian Watchman program. Most existing Guardian Watchmen participate in a network such as Ha-ma-yas in order to benefit from collaborative knowledge and experience.

One way to get started is to talk to First Nations who have an existing program. The members of Ha-ma-yas are more than happy to share their experience with you.

Q) What training does a Guardian Watchman need?

A) Guardian Watchmen require a broad range of skills. Training is provided in such diverse topics as water safety and boat operation; environmental surveying and data collection and tabulation; dealing with the public; environmental laws and reporting procedures; environmental monitoring; tourism; and of course, knowledge of traditional culture, values and laws is essential.

Q) How can I get that kind of training?

A) Courses are available for all of the technical requirements. For more information, please contact us.

Q) Can I get a Guardian Watchman to come and speak at my school/to my staff about the program and what you do?

A) Please contact us if you are interested in having a Guardian Watchman or other stewardship staff come to your school or organization. We are always happy to help educate the public about the important work we do and share our stories about being out on the lands and waters of our territories.

Q) What do I do if I see something happening that looks like it might be harmful to the environment or wildlife?

A) If you see a wildfire in progress call *5555 on mobile, or 1.800.663.5555. In case of poaching or pollution call #7277 on mobile, or 1.877.952.7277.

If you aren’t certain, please call the Nanwakolas Council office at during business hours (8:30am - 4:30pm). For urgent matters only, text or call

Q) How can I help? (volunteering on projects, reporting infractions, informing yourself about the region and how to help protect it for future generations, etc.)

A) You can help us protect our lands, waters and important cultural resources by letting us know about anything you see that may negatively impact our areas, like littering, invasive species, oil spills or illegal harvesting of wildlife. To find out what to look for and how to tell us about it, or if you are involved in citizen science and have information you would like to pass on, please call the Nanwakolas Council office at during business hours (8:30am - 4:30pm).

If you would like to find out more about regional environmental protection, you can go to our Links page for more information.

Please also call the Nanwakolas Council office at during business hours (8:30am - 4:30pm) if you wish to volunteer or have skills you can offer with respect to the activities of the Guardian Watchmen.