our vision

Guided by some of the most brilliant legal advisors in the country, we work to enshrine environmental justice for all. The law is clearly on the side of Indigenous peoples: their victories protect us all.

Changing the landscape : one campaign at a time.

RAVEN is a registered charity with a mission to raise funds for Indigenous People's access to justice. 

We invite support from foundations, organizations, businesses and individuals. RAVEN supporters can donate, organize events, and fundraise online to support our campaigns.

We also invite support from one-time and monthly donors for RAVEN's core work: your contributions allow us to provide Indigenous Peoples with reliable, long term support so they can defend their legal rights within a thriving natural habitat.

 

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what we do

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STANDING UP TO OPEN PIT MINING.
We support Tsilhqot’in Nation as they push back on mines that would destroy sacred areas and vital water systems.

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STOPPING FOSSIL FUEL EXPANSION.
We back the Beaver Lake Cree in their struggle to defend treaty rights and press for climate justice in the face of tar sands expansion. 

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PUSHING BACK AGAINST ENVIRONMENTAL RACISM.
We are standing with Heiltsuk Nation in their effort to establish Aboriginal title to fishing grounds following the devastating Nathan E. Stewart oil spill. 

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PROTECTING BEAUTY AND BIODIVERSITY.
We helped three Yukon Nations for a win at Canada’s Supreme Court that protects 83% of the Peel Watershed. 

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ENSHRINING RIGHTS FOR FUTURE GENERATIONS.
We are working with Secwepemc Nation as they pursue Aboriginal title on unceded territories in the British Columbia interior.

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SUPPORTING INDIGENOUS GOVERNANCE.
Through our We are Unfrackable campaign with Wet’suwet’en Nation, we engage international supporters to fund Indigenous legal challenges. 

who we are

Click on our photos to meet our Board of Directors

Jeffrey Nicholls
Board President

Ron Lameman
Board Vice-President

Clara Bradley
Board Secretary

Cliff Atleo
Board Member

Craig Elder
Treasurer

Susan Gee
Board Member

Rachelle Loos
Board Member

who are raven?

Click on our photos to meet our Board of Directors

Jeffrey Nicholls
Board President

Ron Lameman
Board Vice-President

Clara Bradley
Board Secretary

Cliff Atleo
Board Member

Susan Gee
Board Member

Rachelle Loos
Board Member

Craig Elder
Treasurer

RAVEN STAFF

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Susan Smitten

Executive Director
RAVEN Co-founder

In 2009, Susan created and has managed the only non-for-profit corporate charity in Canada with a mission to raise legal defence funds to assist First Nations who enforce their rights and title to protect their traditional territories and the environment.  She is committed to being a living example for her daughter, and is grateful for the opportunity to serve as an ambassador for the values that RAVEN represents.

A second-generation settler raised in the Dish With One Spoon territory, Susan started out in journalism, honing both story-telling and the desire to amplify voices and issues of marginalized groups.  Still working on her own decolonizing and unlearning, she is committed to the ongoing work of achieving real reconciliation.    

Susan is also an award-winning filmmaker and writer whose past projects communicate the connection between environmental issues and First Nations’ stewardship of the land.  For RAVEN, Susan directed the acclaimed Blue Gold: The Tsilhqot’in Fight for Teztan Biny, giving voice to the Tsilhqot’in peoples unanimous rejection of Taseko Mines Limited’s ‘Prosperity’ open pit gold-copper mining project.  She co-directed Wild Horses, Unconquered People, about the Xeni Gwet’in First Nation’s monumental rights and title legal challenge to save their culture and land. 

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Laurie MacKenzie

Director of Development

Laurie lives on the stunning territory of the Lekwugen people on Vancouver Island with her human and pet family. Laurie enjoyed a childhood in the mountains of North Vancouver, on the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh lands, giving her a deep appreciation of the wilderness and a fierce desire to protect it. 

Educated in our colonial system, Laurie was disheartened when she started to learn later in life of Canada’s real history. Through this unsettling education, her kin relationship with First peoples, her exposure to the pow wow circle, the truths of residential school survivors in the TRC and its calls to action, Laurie has been compelled to participate in settler repair and daily acts of reconciliation.

Laurie felt her skills as a fundraiser could be put to good use to raise legal defence funds. Laurie is incredibly proud of her work at RAVEN. She looks forward to a day when RAVEN’s services are no longer needed because equality has been achieved.  

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Ana Simeon

Campaigns Director

Ana was delighted to join the RAVEN team in September 2016. Ana is passionate about protecting the land and achieving justice for the Indigenous Peoples who are the land’s ancestral guardians. Before joining RAVEN, Ana campaigned with Sierra Club BC to stop the Site C dam project, one of Canada’s most shameful violations of Aboriginal and Treaty rights.

Ana has a background in journalism and communications. During the 1991-1995 war in her birth country, Croatia, she worked as a journalist with a wire news service and was involved in civil rights advocacy. Experiencing the war and its aftermath motivated her to seek for processes that promote understanding and reconciliation.

Ana has worked for a number of years for the U.N. International Criminal Tribunal as legal translator and reviser, and most recently for Sierra Club of BC as Peace Valley campaigner. Ana is also a mediator in private practice and a member of Mediate BC Civil Roster. As a passionate birder Ana is thrilled to be one of the RAVENs!

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Andrea Palframan

Director of Communication

Andrea Palframan (she/her; settler of Scottish and Irish ancestry living on unceded Hul'quimin'um speaking-people's lands) is RAVEN’s Director of Communication. She is dedicated to make media that brings the strength of data together with the power of storytelling.

She holds a Masters in Intercultural & International Communication. Her research focus— how Indigenous communities are responding to, resisting, and adapting to climate change—forms the underpinning of her understanding of environmental justice and human rights issues. She spent 10 years working in sub Saharan Africa as Programs Manager for Glasswaters Foundation, working with grassroots community leaders to bridge the digital divide. 

Andrea is also a filmmaker: her documentary "Raven People Rising" screened at VIFF and won People's Choice award at the Vox Popular Film Festival; she is producer of "The Story of a Girl" with the Visual Epidemiology Project, and author of "Red Shoes on a Red Road: Stories from Brightest Africa." 

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Levin Chamberlain

Grant Writer

Levin (he/him) is a settler of Northern and Eastern European descent that is thrilled to be a part of the RAVEN team. After being raised in an old-growth cedar forest on the unceded territory of the Secwépemc nation, he studied Environmental Studies and Canadian History at the University of Victoria where he developed a passion for Indigenous rights.

Levin draws upon four years of nonprofit fundraising and grant writing experience to contribute to RAVEN. His work with Indigenous Quechua and Amazonian communities in Peru showed him how conservation and Indigenous relationships to their environments are deeply intertwined. This importance continues with Indigenous nations across so-called Canada, and Levin is grateful to be behind an organization that supports those nations in their fight for justice.

Now a guest on the Sinixt, Secwépemc, Sylix, and Ktunaxa territories, Levin spends most of his leisure time rock climbing, gardening, and being a dog dad with his partner.

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Caitlyn Kerr

Event Organizer & Business Outreach

Caitlyn is of Heiltsuk, Scottish and Finnish ancestry and lives on the traditional, ancestral and unceded territory of the Kwikwetlem First Nation. Currently, a student at BCIT studying Sustainable Event Management, Caitlyn's goals are to support and plan events that provide opportunities to highlight and amplify Indigenous creators while also focusing on reducing the event's environmental impact and focusing on sustainable practices.

Caitlyn is excited to be on the RAVEN team to support businesses and organizers in finding ways to raise funds to support Indigenous communities in protecting their land, history, and culture. She is very creative with too many hobbies to enjoy during her free time and is always learning more about her Heiltsuk heritage, culture, and language.

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Jamie Leigh Gonzales

Communication Strategist

Jamie-Leigh is a Portuguese/Sḵwx̱wú7mesh filmmaker, podcast creator, photographer, poet, and designer living on stolen land of Kwikwetlem, Musqueam, Sḵwx̱wú7mesh, Stó:lō and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations. She is a cofounder and technical lead at Grounded Futures: a media and mentorship collaborative, as well as Communications Lead at Solidarity Housing Society. 

At RAVEN, Jamie-Leigh is a Communications Strategist who is keen to use her technical skills to amplify Indigenous voices and movements. 

With a passion for technology and storytelling, Jamie-Leigh has become dedicated to her multimedia practices; through the creation of engaging content, she hopes to stimulate meaningful dialogue that challenges the status quo and encourages systemic change.

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Christopher Roy

Digital Marketing

Christopher manages digital strategy, planning, RAVEN’s website and the various digital services that support our campaigns, online fundraising and community engagement. He is a social venture entrepreneur who focuses his work on using digital strategy, marketing and advertising for businesses and non-profits to grow value and impact. Christopher is the Founder and Director of Marketing at Marketworks and is a board member of the Carving on the Edge Festival which hosts an annual gathering of West coast and Indigenous wood carvers in Tofino, BC each year.

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Carly Eldstrom

Grant Writer

Carly joined the RAVEN team as a Grant Writer in August 2019 after a year of service on the Development Committee. She was raised in BC’s lower mainland (Katzie, Kwantlen, and Stó:lō territory) and found belonging on Vancouver Island, where she spent seven years living gratefully on Snuneymuxw and Lekwungen territories. 

Carly is excited to work with RAVEN to support Indigenous communities as they continue to protect their traditional territories by defending against unsustainable industrial development and nourishing their culture. Her core passions are environmental justice, Indigneous rights and decolonization, and fighting social inequality.

Carly received her B.A. in Sociology from Vancouver Island University and is pursuing a graduate degree in Nonprofit Management at Columbia University.

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Karissa Chandrakate

Digital Content Coordinator

Karissa joined the RAVEN team in June 2019.  She is a first-generation immigrant and settler, born in the Caribbean island of Trinidad and Tobago, and moved to Canada at age 10.

She is of Indian and Portuguese ancestry and is committed to learning about her deep colonial history and the culture of her ancestors. Community and connection are important values to her, and she recognizes that she carries an immense amount of privilege, having been able to migrate to Canada at such a young age. She feels humbled to be a part of the RAVEN team, using the power of visual media to amplify the voices of the Indigenous Nations who are defending their land and culture. 

She currently resides in Lekwungen and W̱SÁNEĆ territory – having moved from the traditional territory of the Haudensaunee and Anishnaabeg peoples – and enjoys connecting with her new community, spending time healing in the natural world and learning about the wonders of these lands. 

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Russ Elliott

Office Administrator

russ elliott (he/they) is a disabled/crip settler originally from the Treaty 7 lands of the Blackfoot Confederacy, just West and North of what is currently called Calgary, Alberta. He is of Eastern and Central European ancestry, and works hard at unlearning his internalized imperialism (including white supremacy, extractivism, patriarchy, ableism, etc.), knowing that it is an everyday, life-long journey. 

russ moved to the beautiful Lekwungen and W̱SÁNEĆ Territories to complete his MA degree in Sociology at the University of Victoria, where he focussed on decolonial poetics and political ontology in the context of climate change. He couldn't be more excited to help support RAVEN and the Indigenous communities in their defense of their traditional territories, histories, and cultures, and approaches this work with humility and care. 

He has experience in publishing, disability/accessibility justice, participatory budgeting, and navigating the complexities of academic, provincial, and municipal governance structures. In his free time, he enjoys hiking with his partner, watching cooking shows, and writing poetry. 

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Maureen Butler

Bookkeeper

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