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

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

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.

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 started with RAVEN in 2012 when the organization was still in its infancy. Her arrival doubled RAVEN’s number of staff. Laurie enjoyed a childhood in the mountains of North Vancouver, on the traditional territory of the Squamish people, giving her a deep appreciation of our natural world and a fierce desire to protect it. 
 
Educated in a colonial system, Laurie was shocked and disheartened as she learned about Canada’s real history. Through the TRC, she started to think of ways she could participate in 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
and Engagement

Andrea Palframan is RAVEN’s Director of Engagement and 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 and is a Director of Transition Salt Spring. 

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 also 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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Josie Bannerman

Grant Writer

Josie loves writing grants and feels privileged to be part of the RAVEN team, doing her part to help raise legal defence funds for Indigenous Nations who fight through the courts for their land and culture.

She likes working to deadlines, feels more at home writing than talking, and draws on her past experience as librarian and market researcher to get those grant applications out the door.

In her spare time, she particularly enjoys walking along the seashore and working in the garden, where pruning grapevines and trimming hedges are her favorite chores. You can get a lot of thinking done while trimming a hedge, she often tells passersby who comment on the enormity of the job. From time to time she also writes for the James Bay Beacon Community newspaper, and for a number of years sat on their board.

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Leah Ritch

Operations Manager

Leah is of Scottish (Orcadian), and mixed Irish, Swedish and French ancestry, a history and culture she feels a deep responsibility in learning. She came to RAVEN in 2014 following her undergraduate degree in Political Science and Anthropology. Leah worked as a constituency assistant to the agricultural critic, Lana Popham. 

Leah believes strongly we have a powerful opportunity to collectively mobilize and support the Indigenous Peoples and knowledge keepers of this land and their precedent setting legal challenges – peoples whose rights remain some of the most powerful environmental protections against ongoing colonial assaults and destructive development we have left.

In her spare time she finds much fulfillment cooking, gardening, camping, swimming in the ocean, and participating in a wide range of decolonization efforts.

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Kathryn Juricic

Development Coordinator

Kathryn is a settler-ally born and raised on Lekwungen Territories in Victoria, B.C. A traveler of the west coast and advocate for resilient communities, Kathryn has long been passionate about Indigenous justice and its relationship to how we organize socially and pursue reconciliation from the ground up. These interests have landed Kathryn in a broad spectrum of former positions across Canada, from studying culture and anthropological archives on Haida Gwaii to working in the trenches of Parliament for Elizabeth May.

Kathryn’s work with RAVEN allows her to bring her political and organizing experience to the vitally important work of decolonization, which entails a reconnection with Canada’s Indigenous communities and the landscapes they have stewarded for millennia.

In her spare time, Kathryn volunteers for nature-based youth programming and helps facilitate environmental education for youth in Victoria. When she’s not in an office, you can usually find her revelling in some natural wonder.

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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 first-generation immigrant and settler, born in the Caribbean island of Trinidad and Tobago, and moved to Canada at age 10.  She is grateful to have had a childhood that was spent in tropical rainforests, climbing fruit trees, and harvesting medicinal plants because it instilled a deep appreciation for the natural world and her home country – even when migrating to the concrete jungles of Canada. 

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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Maia Wikler

Contract Writer

Maia grew up in Philadelphia, where the impacts of pollution affected her life directly and spurred her advocacy for climate justice at an early age. Maia seeks to connect dynamic and diverse audiences on issues of climate justice and human rights through research, film, writing and community organizing. She was recently recognized with the CC Faces of Innovation Award for her work identifying the challenges of climate change as a youth delegate with SustainUS at UN Climate Talks.

Maia is a published writer. Her most recent work appears in Teen Vogue. Currently, she is pursuing a PhD at the University of Victoria. 

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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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Maureen Butler

Bookkeeper

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