Community Members raise over $7,500 for Heiltsuk

The Reconciliation Committee of the Vancouver Quaker Meeting organized a film screening of Raven People Rising to raise funds and awareness for the Heiltsuk Nation. The Heiltsuk Nation is taking an oil shipping company and Canada to court over a catastrophic diesel oil spill in their territory. With a robust and devoted event organizing team, over $7,500 was raised at the film screening in support of the Heiltsuk legal challenge. 

Maxine, one of the event organizers, says, “I think anyone interested in “reconciliation” would likely see supporting the Heiltsuk quest for justice as a step in that direction.”

A key ingredient to the event’s success? Maxine shared that one volunteer focused on donor recruitment, while another event supporter organized a successful silent auction in collaboration with community member, Rob, who gathered pieces of original art from his Heiltsuk family members. “I have married into a very artistic and creative family and our nephew, Dean Hunt, and our sister-in-law, Mia Hunt, generously donated beautiful art pieces for the silent auction,” Rob says.

With a welcome and drumming from Mary Point, followed by an opening update on the legal challenge against Kirby, BC and Canada from Heiltsuk’s legal counsel Lisa Fong, audience members “were enthralled, and their generosity showed it,” Maxine shared. 

Rob explained, “My personal motivation for why we should take on organizing fundraising events is that my husband, Allen Hunt, was born in Bella Bella and is Heiltsuk. I have been to Bella Bella and was awestruck by its beauty and meaning to the Heiltsuk people. Knowing how devastating the effects of the Nathan E Stewart oil spill are to the community — my brother-in-law Ted Hunt is a fisherman in Bella Bella — I am grateful we were able to raise as much as we did. As a lawyer, I know that litigation is an expensive and time consuming process, but it is necessary for the Heiltsuk to assert their rights and obtain justice for what they have endured. Our work on this event is a concrete expression of our commitment to reconciliation and supporting Indigenous rights.”

Are you inspired by the incredible success of this event and dedicated team to raise support for Heiltsuk? You can watch the trailer of RAVEN’s latest film, “Raven People Rising,” and join our “Living Room Festival” to watch the movie at home. 

Raven People Rising is a film chronicling the efforts of Indigenous people to chart a sustainable and just course through the troubled waters of the Great Bear Sea. In this 30 minute film, set in one of the Earth’s last tracts of intact temperate rainforest, meet elders, youth, and tribal leaders who describe a mixed inheritance: on the one hand, the violence of residential schools and cultural erasure, and on the other, an unbroken lineage of ancestral teachings that powerfully connect people to place.

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