RAVEN - Respecting Aboriginal Values and Environmental Needs

New Grrrowd Crowdfunding Campaign launched

On March 2nd,  the indigenous people of Beaver Lake Cree Nation in Alberta launched a crowdfunding project for a landmark court case to protect their traditional lands and way of life. Their constitutionally guaranteed treaty rights to “hunt, fish and trap in perpetuity” have been severely violated by 20 years of tar sand mining and other resource development.

Their project has kicked off at Grrrowd.org, a non-profit crowdfunding platform recently launched in The Hague, Netherlands, and fully dedicated to support landmark “David versus Goliath” cases in defense of fundamental rights worldwide. Grrrowd.org works closely with established nonprofits like Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth and Amnesty in selecting high impact cases. While Canadian and American donors can contribute at www.raventrust.com, European and international donors now have a simple way to support the Beaver Lake Cree case. Click here to see the Grrrowd campaign & make a donation!

Lawyers for the band stress the case is winnable because Canadian law is on the side of the First Nations.  The main obstacle is the cost of gathering the evidence needed to present to a judge.  The Grrrowd project aims to collect € 258,035 to carry forward this monumental case in 5 consecutive stages, with a first target of € 51,607 before 30 April 2015.

We’re committed to support the Beaver Lake Cree.  But we cannot do this alone. We really need your help to get the larger global audience to get behind this Grrrowd campaign.

Therefore, we kindly request you help in the following ways :

Thank you for letting your friends, family, and colleagues in Europe & other corners of the globe know about this important effort.  It’s time the world knew what was happening on the frontlines of climate justice in Canada, and to give everyone a chance to help be part of the solution.  

Crowdfunding this campaign successfully and winning this legal case will be of vital importance, because if you breathe air, or you drink water, the outcome will affect you.  Success in this case would mean that it would become much harder, if not impossible to expand tar sands projects over the objections of Beaver Lake and other First Nations in the region. As such, this legal action is also a critical frontline in the battle against climate change. The Beaver Lake Cree protect one of the world’s most important carbon sinks – the boreal forest.  Stopping the expansion of the Alberta tar sands also substantially limits Canada’s production of greenhouse gases.

Thank you – your help means a lot!

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BLCN vs. Canada and Alberta:  Background

In this precedent-setting case, the Beaver Lake Cree are holding the Canadian government and the province of Alberta accountable for the cumulative effects of tar sands mining and other mineral developments on their traditional territory.  Canada has broken its treaty promises.  (For more on Canada’s history with First Nations rights, refer to R. v. Sparrow, [1990] S.C.R. 1075.)

The issuance of some 19,000 permits by the Canadian government and the province of Alberta has had devastating impacts on the Beaver Lake Cree people’s ability to maintain their culture and way of life. Many scientists are warning that the massive destruction of the boreal forest and the carbon released by heavy oil projects may irreversibly push our planet past the tipping point of climate change.  Beaver Lake Cree band member Crystal Lameman emphasizes the global impact of this case: “As indigenous peoples we are standing up to protect the land, water and our collective future, not only for us but for the very existence of the human race.”

The people of Beaver Lake Cree Nation live in an area the size of Switzerland – dotted with hundreds of freshwater lakes and rivers, home to hundreds of species of ungulates, migrating birds, and fish.  The caribou in the region are already at risk of becoming extinct, largely because of the tar sands industries.

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