A nailbiting morning. An astounding victory.
Another trip around the sun. Another amazing year for RAVEN.
Writing these ‘retrospective’ emails summons so many powerful emotions. We’re driven by a sense of urgency at RAVEN: with legal challenges, there are no guarantees, and the successes, when they come, are impossible to predict or prepare for. This is why we are peppering you with requests for donations at this time of year: bear with us, and make a donation if you can. But read on for a behind-the-scenes look at one of the most historic moments in RAVEN’s 10 year history.
It’s the morning of August 29th, and we’re awaiting the Federal Court of Appeal’s decision on the Transmountain (Kinder Morgan) case brought by the Tsleil Waututh, Squamish, Coldwater and Secwepemc Nations.
Picture us, sitting up in bed with a cup of coffee, hitting refresh over and over again on the Department of Justice website. Then, at 7:01 am, there comes the judgement we’ve been hotly anticipating. Speed reading over the text until it sinks in: we’ve won. The project approval quashed. First Nations vindicated. Happy-dancing in our pjs, on the phone with allies, overwhelmed and overjoyed.
We had prepared for two possible outcomes, but to be honest we’d spent a LOT more time getting ready for Scenario A. That one, in which the press and the federal government seemed so confident, was an outcome where the court would rule against First Nations. The upshot would be a lot of disappointed people, and RAVEN scrambling to pull together enough money so Nations could launch an appeal.
But! Instead of sending out our pre-prepared “We lost, but it’s not over” graphics and emails, we threw together a hasty “Unbelievably, we WON!” facebook post. Then we had two hours to pull together a website inviting everyone to send “thank you” messages to the Nations before racing off to the press conference on Burrard Inlet.
It was one of the most magical mornings ever. On the street, strangers in Pull Together t-shirts were hugging and high-fiving each other. At Crab Park, a mood of absolute joy from the assembled chiefs and elders from the victorious Nations. The easy joking of leaders, grounded in a resounding affirmation of the strength of their convictions. And, on the Facebook feed as we live-streamed the entire event, hundreds of messages of support, love, and friendship pouring in. It was hard to hold the camera steady between the tears and the laughter.
Afterwards, the email we sent to you all pretty much wrote itself. It was one of “those emails”. We recall using the word “quashed” with gusto.
Every time we send one of ‘those” emails, we receive a surge of what we can only call ‘love mail’. You send us the kindest messages and, for all of us at RAVEN, the pendulum swings the other way. The stressed out, nail-biting urgency gives way to a flood of gratitude.
So: this little peek behind the curtain is all just to say: RAVEN is actually a tiny tag-team of seven people, surrounded by a giant circle of thousands strong, who, though we aren’t together in real time and in one place, ride the waves of crisis and victory together.
Please: if you have it in you to give this year, now is the time. The first 40 people to donate more than $250 will receive our beautiful 2019 calendarfeaturing images from the many wild and sacred places we are working to protect.
If you have felt the love and are in a position to make a tax-deductible contribution before the year is out, please do so knowing you are blowing the bellows on a bright fire, one that we’ll be tending with much care.
It’s been an amazing year. Thank your for swinging along on this pendulum ride with us.
The RAVEN Team
Laurie, Susan, Ana, Leah, Josie, Michelle and Andrea
p.s. Become a member of our Circle of Allies and help stabilize RAVEN so we can provide ongoing, long-term support to the Nations we are working alongside. Sign up as a monthly donor here: https://fundraise.raventrust.com/give/162836/#!/donation/checkout