RAVEN - Respecting Aboriginal Values and Environmental Needs

Happy New Year RAVENers!

Dear RAVENers,

Happy New Year!  We hope this blog finds you well! 

This is my first blog post as RAVEN’s Social Media Coordinator.  Many of you might know me from the Twitter, Facebook posts and notably the administrator of the Tsilhqot’in Journey for Justice Facebook group (constantly updating you as to where the Elders were)!  I have LOVED working at RAVEN for the last 7 months and I come to this position with a law degree and I’m currently completing my Master of Laws at UVic in Aboriginal and Environmental law!  All this to say that my legal background is super helpful when I’m “livetweeting” events such as the Tsilhqot’in Aboriginal title Supreme Court of Canada case on November 7 of last year!

If you haven’t seen it on the Facebook group, check out the video I made about the Tsilhqot’in Elders Journey for Justice to help awareness about the Tsilhqot’in First Nation Supreme Court of Canada Aboriginal title case.  That decision is expected to come out in the next 6-12 months.  We will keep you posted on that!

Maybe it’s my optimistic and positive personality, but I really feel like momentum is building for First Nations in Canada.  These are the stories that personally inspire me to continue to do this very important work about spreading the word about First Nations environmental and social issues in Canada.  I have been privileged to meet dozens of incredible and courageous First Nations youth, adults, and Elders who are all making Turtle Island/Canada a much better place for today and the next 7 generations.

2013 showed us amazing and inspiring feats such as Idle No More (which is of course ongoing), theJourney of the Nishiyuu walkers (youth who walked 1,600km in the winter over about 60 from northern Ontario to Ottawa to spread the message about sacred First Nations laws and traditions, & the Elsipogtog First Nation and allies defending their traditional territory against hydraulic fracturing/fracking in Rexton, New Brunswick (also on going).  We also saw a victory as DJ NDN from A Tribe Called Red succeeded in his 2-year long #ChangeTheName lobbying campaign to change the racist Nepean Redskins football team name.

Currently there are walkers from Attiwapiskat First Nation (Northern Ontario), one of whom I have the pleasure of having met.  They are travelling to Ottawa with the message of Honouring the Treaties.

2014 promises to be a big year in the courts.  First Nations are clearly seeing litigation as a strong tool to claim and regain control of their traditional territories.  Looking ahead we have already seen a flood of newspaper articles about “Northern Gateway has Ottawa Scrambling To Avoid Lawsuits” & “Lake Babine Nation threatens lawsuit against Northern Gateway pipeline”.  We know that many First Nations are in the courts right now fighting against the tarsands and other environmental destruction.  Look at the list of Alberta First Nations that are litigating: Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation, Fort McKay First Nation, Mikisew Cree and Frog Lake First Nation, Beaver Lake Cree First Nation, Lubicon Cree First Nation.

RAVEN will be right there helping out in any way we can with litigation funding support.

Stay tuned and visit the RAVENtrust websiteFacebook Group, and Twitter regularly to stay updated!

Thanks for reading!

Michelle Zakrison on behalf of the RAVEN Team!

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