TREATY 8 – SITE C
The David vs Goliath contest continues. Several legal actions launched by Treaty 8 First Nations to stop BC Hydro’s Site C Dam are before the courts – both provincial and federal. The legal teams are filing appeals in the BC Court of Appeal this month, appealing the BCSC judgment of September 18th which dismissed the Nations’ application for judicial review. Lawyers also filed in the Federal Court of Appeal in March appealing a similar judgment. Neither is likely to be heard before fall of 2016. So we continue fundraising!
Fundraiser Profile: Last summer photographer and artist Deirdre Kelly jumped on the BC-Yukon Kairos Rolling Justice bus and saw the Peace River Valley for the first time. She was honoured to meet people from the West Moberly Band, and some of the farmers and ranchers who live and work in the abundant valley. “I’ve been involved in many issues as an activist, but never as an artist. This was a perfect blending of two very important areas of my life – my love of painting and photography, and my profound belief in the rights of people to have a say in the issues that affect their destiny.” Deirdre decided to do an art show and give 25% of the proceeds of her sales for the Site C related legal actions. “When I decided to do the art show, I got all this energy! I was inspired by the words in Treaty 8 ‘as long as this river shall run’ and had to do what I could to prevent the needless destruction of something so precious.” Please check out Deirdre’s Facebook page to see more of her artwork: Deirdre Kelly Fine Art. Thank you Deirdre!!
An information road show led by Julian Napoleon and Ana Simeon of Sierra Club BC, supported by RAVEN, stopped in Vernon, Kelowna, Kamloops and Golden between April 18 and 21. Each event was well attended and brought in more than $2000 in donations. The Join the Circle campaign has raised more than $208K, with $18k left in matching funds.
MADII LII – On April 19th, representatives from Luutkudziiwus travelled to Ottawa, along with a delegation of senior leaders from Lax Kw’alaams, Wet’suwet’en First Nations and the Union of BC Indian Chiefs to meet with federal officials in the Prime Minister’s Office. The goal – to set the record straight on misleading claims of support for Petronas’ Pacific Northwest LNG pipeline. Giphaygwin ganaa’u (Richard Wright) spoke for House of Luutkudziiwus, saying the pipeline proposed to run through their Madii Lii territory threatens salmon harvests vital to their lives and livelihood. They will be filing their legal action in the coming weeks, based on the failure to consult and seeking to quash the certificates that allow the project to proceed. RAVEN continues to raise funds for Madii Lii – we’re just $20K shy of the original $60,000 goal.
PULL TOGETHER — Last week, we heard that Enbridge has appealed to the federal government to extend federal approval for the Northern Gateway pipeline. Even though they have failed miserably in meeting the 109 conditions set out under the environmental certificate, the company has asked for more time to muster support for their project. Even after mass street protests, a declaration signed by 140 First Nations, a string of lawsuits AND the popular Pull Together campaign, Enbridge is still talking about “a path to victory, a path to construction”.
So, we enter Phase 3 of the Pull Together campaign. Having to fight this project, politically and in court, creates enormous unnecessary burdens on small communities and First Nations who can least afford it. Spending more time meeting with Enbridge when the answer, for a majority of First Nations along the pipeline route, is clearly “Not now, never”, is a waste of resources and time.
We’re getting out our paddles for what looks like the beginning of Pull Together: Round Two. First Nations should not have to fight this company alone. Stay tuned to find out how you can help keep up the pressure and keep tarsands oil from spreading across BC.
TSILHQOT’IN – TEZTAN BINY/FISH LAKE – As you know, the Xeni Gwet’in First Nation and Tsilhqot’in National Government are back in court – as Taseko Mines Ltd. pushes ahead with judicial reviews after the second federal rejection of its open pit gold-copper mine. The fundraising has started, with estimates from the legal team of needing $150K for both JRs. Between funds that RAVEN had already raised, and a generous donation from Fitzhenry Family Foundation, we have just over $40K in, and will be sending out appeals in the coming months.
BLCN – Beaver Lake Cree Nation was back in court in March to deal with Alberta’s questions to their amended claim. The legal team is working hard on evidence gathering, with a range of projects including socio-cultural surveys and evaluation of the ‘lands taken up’ by industry starting this month. The goal is to have many of them complete by September. Funds required are approximately $250K to complete this work. The lawyers and Beaver Lake Cree Nation are looking being ready for a possible trial date of late 2017.