RAVEN - Respecting Aboriginal Values and Environmental Needs

WOW! You did it!!! Thank you everyone…

This is amazing!  In two weeks, the goal of raising $25,000 wasn’t just reached, it was smashed!!  Thank you to the 643+ donors who signed on to help the Beaver Lake Cree Nation. Thank you to Crystal and to the team that helped get this campaign up and running!   If you missed it, the link is still up and you can donate at thetarsandstrial.ca.   And if you wonder why all the urgency to help, here are a few answers for you.

1. What is the importance of this trial?   There are a number of ways to answer this really.  First of all, this is one of the most important and practical initiatives there is right now to really take on the tar sands industries in their entirety. 

This isn’t activism – it’s litigation.  And it is something that will provide a measurable outcome – ideally a Supreme Court of Canada declaration that the 17,000+ permits handed out to big oil do infringe the Beaver Lake Cree Nation’s treaty rights.  And that would make the permits – and the tar sands activity connected to them unconstitutional.  That declaration will make those permits illegal.  

This trial is the first time in Canadian history that the Court is allowing this kind of challenge to widespread industrial activity based on the cumulative effects these activities have on the Beaver Lake Cree’s constitutionally protected treaty rights.

And another reason this is important:  it is something that people who are fed up with government’s unwavering support for the tar sands can galvanize behind.  This trial is tangible – people can directly support those who are fighting back,  the Beaver Lake Cree Nation. 

2. Are you surprised that you reached/surpassed your goal?   It is thrilling that so many people supported this cause – and surprising that within two weeks the target of $25,000 was not just reached but surpassed.  It tells us that there are many concerned global citizens wanting to do something real. They want to find a way to make a difference on an issue that until this legal action came along seemed too huge, too impossible, too overwhelming.  But now there is a way to work for a better future. 

RAVEN’s vision is a country that embraces the caretaker values of First Nations and their equitable access to the justice system within a thriving natural habitat.  This legal action launched by some of our bravest citizens is a way to make that a reality.

This trial will set a path forward for all First Nations to protect their land, and way of life.  And in so doing, saving us all. 

4. What can scientific research help you determine about the cumulative impacts of the tar sands?  
This case is about proving the cumulative impact piece by piece.  Experts will be needed to show how each individual species – from the ungulates to the fish – will be or already are being affected by the tar sands industries.  This means gathering a lot of data – also about the impact on water, land and air.  And then it means putting that all together in a cohesive document that can be laid out for a judge to understand.  Science will create the picture that shows definitively how the treaty rights are being infringed. 

For example –the woodland caribou report done by U of A expert Stan Boutin showed the woodland caribou in the BLCN’s traditional region have already declined 70% since 1996 – that science is a smoking gun that tar sands development is violating the Beaver Lake Cree’s right to hunt and fish in the band’s usual and accustomed places under the treaty with the government of Canada.    What science will help to clearly show is that the expansion of the tar sands projects is making it impossible for the band to hunt and fish – they can’t find an animal, and if they do it is now often inedible because it has been exposed to toxins.  So the promises in the treaty are not being kept.  That’s what this case is all about.

To read the latest DeSmog Canada post on this, follow this link!

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