It was a perfect day.
Under sunny skies, hundreds of paddlers took to the waters of the Peace River in solidarity for the 11th annual Paddle for the Peace. Over a thousand people came from as far away as Victoria, Indonesia and Italy to join together in opposing the Site-C dam.
This is a river valley that teems with life. As we floated along we saw beavers, eagles and deer. We also witnessed incredibly committed people taking a courageous stand in a community that has been deeply divided by this project. Farm folk, city folk, First Nations and people from all walks of life joined hands to support one another in stopping a project that would be a disaster for our common future.
“Only a small fraction of land has been cleared and the earth is so resilient that it has already begun to heal itself. It is not too late to stop this dam. It can and will be stopped. I seen it there at the Rocky Mountain Fort in the dirt, amongst the bodies of elderly trees, I seen it, I felt it, I heard it. They tried to bury us, and they did not know that we were seeds. We are still here.” — Helen Knott, Treaty 8 member
Along with those, like Helen, who bore witness to the power of the Peace River, thousands more people were there in spirit. Over 20,000 people have now signed LeadNow’s petition. It calls on the federal government not to sign any permits for the dam until the court challenge that RAVEN is fundraising for can be heard. We’ve raised over $25k in the past month, bringing our total up to $260,000. The donations are still rolling in: our goal is to hit $300k by the end of the summer.
Will you join the momentum and help support saving the Peace River via the legal challenge to Site-C dam?
Businesses around BC stepped up to show their support, holding fundraising events and donating portions of proceeds for this strategic legal action. A huge shout out to:
• Cartems Donuterie $500
• Uprising Breads Bakery $1200
• Talaysay Tours $400
• Vancouver’s Unitarian Fellowship $350
• Earnest Ice Cream $2000
• The Soap Dispensary $530
Warm thanks also to Cold Comfort Ice Cream, Ocean and Crow Yoga, Mason Street Farm, Persephone Brewing and Yogacara Whistler for helping make #GrabaPaddle a lot of fun.
At the same time as we were floating down the Peace River, the Sechelt First Nations held a solidarity paddle and salmon BBQ. Paddlers also hit the water in Nelson, BC and on Saanich Inlet. And the “Fight-C” march and flotilla in Vancouver was covered by CBC and Global News!
Put it together. With the Paddle for the Peace, political pressure from LeadNow, and fundraising led by RAVEN, we’re taking Ottawa by storm. Through powerful acts of solidarity we’re making it plain that First Nations have the support of people all across the country. There is no way that Trudeau can keep his commitments to respect Indigenous Rights AND build this dam. We’re going to keep up the pressure until this project is stopped.
Please watch —and share — this powerful video shot at the Paddle for the Peace by DeSmog’s Emma Gilchrist. And please, if you can, donate to West Moberly and Prophet River First Nation’s strategic legal actions. This case stands to put a halt to a project that would drown treaty rights at a time when we are all pulling for a new era of Indigenous Justice.
We look forward to more fundraising events & business involvement through the course of the summer, leading up to the big court challenge in early September.
You’re invited! Grab a Paddle to get involved: contact a business you are connected with and invite them to donate a portion of proceeds, host an event with your friends, community group, sports team or church, or get online and join the 50 ‘friendraisers’ who have setup personal fundraising pages on the RAVEN site. It’s easy, it’s fun, and makes a real difference in the future of not only the Peace River, but of this country.
Grab a Paddle and let’s go the distance together. Thank you for all that you do.
Executive Director, RAVEN Trust