Important, sobering, eye-opening, inspiring. Those are some of the words people used to describe last weekend’s series of RAVEN events, “This is What a Spill Looks Like”.
We were graced by the gentle yet powerful storytelling of April Bencze, who took audiences in Sidney, Duncan and Salt Spring through a heart wrenching account of her time in Bella Bella, from hanging out with sea wolves to witnessing a diesel spill as a deep sea diver. April’s lens helped us travel to an undersea world where the urchins, otters, seals and abalone she introduced us to now face an uncertain fate after the poisoning of their habitat by the wrecked Nathan E. Stewart.
While the content of the presentation was heavy, no-one failed to be inspired by the youthful energy and vision of Heiltsuk councillor Jamie Harris. Responsible for an astonishing array of portfolios since her election to council, Jaimie brings a compassionate yet tough minded approach to her community’s challenges. The Heiltsuk were hugely instrumental in the defeat of the Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline as one of seven Nations who took on that project in court. Because of their efforts, the north coast and Great Bear Rainforest are free from tarsands tankers. But the articulated barges — like those driven by the Nathan E. Stewart — that still ply the Inside Passage continue to pose a dire threat to all life on the coast. Jaimie outlined the perils her community faces in first recovering from the spill. She also embodied the Heiltsuk Nations’ resolve in working to ensure other communities never face the same calamity.
RAVEN is committed to supporting the Heiltsuk in their legal fight against the company and the federal government. We know many of you would have liked to attend these events but with the final long weekend of the summer’s many events and gatherings, could not join us. Please make a donation now to show your support and share in the upswell of solidarity that the Heitsuk so richly deserve. This Nation stepped up to protect our common future in the defeat of Enbridge: now, it’s time to step up for them.