Today’s episode introduces Shosana and Raven of Digging Roots, who, together with promoter and singer songwriter Amanda Rheaume are the founders of the indigenous Music Summit. This February, as the Wet’suwet’en Nation’s courageous stance against Coastal Gas Link inspired solidarity actions around the world , this powerhouse trio got together to organize a benefit concert in Toronto that brought together some of the biggest names – and biggest hearts – in the Indigenous arts scene.
On today’s podcast you’ll hear selected highlights from the We Are the Stronghold concert that featured luminaries Chantal Kreviazak, Chris Derksen, Logan Staats, Serena Ryder and many more.The event was a fundraiser for RAVEN – Respecting Aboriginal Values and Environmental Needs. RAVEN – the organization I founded 11 years ago, exists to prove access to justice to Indigenous Peoples who turn to the courts to have their rights recognized.
A generous RAVEN donor covered all the costs of putting on the show so that every dime that was raised at the event went directly to build the legal warchest for Wetsuweten hereditary leaders. This inspiring evening of solidarity was an outpouring of love that ran counter to the media narrative that, throughout the Wetsuweten struggle, has ignored the legitimacy of leaders and neglected to address the legal standing of land protectors. Hear the voices of poets, singers, medicine people and rappers and you will get a glimpse of the strength, unity and power that underlies the Indigenous resurgence that is challenging oppressive systems and remaking this country.
By the end of the night, with a livestream playing on Instagram and an online fundraising team reaching out across the country, the We Are the Stronghold event raised $20,000 for RAVEN’s Wet’suwet’en legal defence fund. The same night, a show in Yellowknife raised $5k: more shows were planned for Ottawa, Winnipeg and Vancouver when the Covid-19 crisis hit. Wetsuweten solidarity has gone online for the moment: you can still back the Wetsuweten in their fight for justice by donating to the We Are the Stronghold fundraising team at raventrust.com/wearethestronghold.
Music and art are powerful medicine to get us through tough times. We are so grateful to everyone who lifted their voices and shared their talent for one magical, unforgettable night. Huge thanks to the musicians, organizers, volunteers, technicians and everyone who attended and donated, and thank YOU for finding ways to live in solidarity and justice for a future where we all rise, and shine.