Join Vancouver Quakers and Unitarians to raise funds for the Heiltsuk legal defence, hear from Audrey Siegl (Musqueam Nation territorial welcome), Lisa Fong (lawyer for Heiltsuk Nation), enjoy the film ‘Raven People Rising’, art raffle and more! Refreshments provided. You can watch the trailer here. Suggested donation: $10 – $20; No one turned away for lack of funds.
When: February 22nd, 7 PM
Why: The Heiltsuk Nation upholds an unbroken lineage of ancestral teachings that powerfully connect people to place. Witness how the Heiltsuk used the courts to stop Enbridge — backed by thousands of supporters via the Pull Together campaign. Just six months after that court victory, the Nathan E. Stewart ran aground in their Great Bear Rainforest home. Again, the Heiltsuk took to the courts. Now, in the wake of the devastating spill, the Heiltsuk are working to enshrine Indigenous governance of their homelands and waters into law. They are taking power back from regulators asleep at the wheel to ensure that the Pacific coast is protected for future generations. Their work will ensure marine safety for anyone who cares about the coast, the climate and future generations. The Heiltsuk are taking the polluter, Kirby Corporation, and the federal government to court. RAVEN is raising $425,000 to help fund the case.
With their legal challenge, the Heiltsuk Nation are taking power from regulators asleep at the wheel and bringing the responsibility to protect their territory and ocean back home.
On October 13, 2016 a tug without a certified pilot ran aground and spilled over 110,000 liters of diesel oil in Heiltsuk waters on the central coast of British Columbia. The tug and attached barge were carrying diesel through Heiltsuk waters despite Heiltsuk prohibition of oil transport through their marine harvesting areas.
Through inadequate government and corporate response, and despite Heiltsuk responders’ heroic efforts to mitigate the damage, the spill contaminated key shellfish harvesting areas and critical habitat for the Northern abalone. The Heiltsuk suffered a violent disruption to their way of life, their economy, their history and identity, and their spiritual connection to the land. The Heiltsuk had warned the federal government about the risk of oil transport through the stormy passages of the Central Coast. Heiltsuk was one of the Nations that won a landmark case stopping Enbridge Northern Gateway in 2016. Tragically, they are now left dealing with long-term and catastrophic damage to the health of their land, waters, and culture.
A win for the Heiltsuk could:
- Toughen oil spill regulations along the whole Pacific coast
- Set legal precedents for Aboriginal title to the foreshore and seabed and Aboriginal governance rights that protects the ecosystem and its resources
- lead to a legal requirement for BC and Canada to consult with Indigenous peoples on the environmental impact assessment and remediation following an oil spill
- Establish cultural damages
- Strengthen Heiltsuk jurisdiction so they can manage their territory according to Heiltsuk laws
If you can’t make it out to this incredible event but would like to donate to the Heiltsuk legal fund, you can do so here.