Breathing Lands benefit kicks off major new RAVEN campaign

On Monday, June 19 2023, Vancouver Unitarians kicked off the Breathing Lands campaign with a circle of voices, raised in praise (and protest) for our world.

View highlights in this video:

With a welcome by Deanna Lewis, the Squamish Canoe Family shared songs and stories about their incredible journeys, pulling traditions from time immemorial all the way into the present moment. At the event, RAVEN announced we were matching donations, dollar for dollar; the event raised just over $15k for a coalition of Nations who are heading to court to protect the precious peatlands in Ontario’s north. If you didn’t get a chance to give, you can do so at https://fundraise.raventrust.com/breathing.

Eleven Breathing Lands Nations are going to court to press for Treaty rights recognition, so they can care for the lands and waters in ‘co-jurisdiction’ with the governments of Ontario and Canada. This groundbreaking case asserts that Indigenous consent is necessary to safeguard an area that sequesters 5x as much carbon as the Amazon rainforest. RAVEN is raising funds to cover the steep legal costs of this strategic case.

The thing is: we are all treaty people. Even those of us settlers who live on unceded/untreatied lands: if you play any part in the Nation called Canada, the promises held within the Royal Proclamation of 1763 are yours to uphold. This means honouring the rights of Indigenous peoples to hunt, fish, and practise their cultures as long as the grass grows and the rivers flow.

Finding ways to walk a path together is not about “trickle down benefits” from non-consensual industries, handed out at the discretion of paternalistic governments. It’s a partnership between a country whose ecological track record is one of extractivism and collapse, and Indigenous cultures whose caretaker values hold the key for humanity’s survival – how to be in good relations with our more-than-human kin. This is so very crucial when the impacts of strip mining, clearcutting, and carbon emissions have ignited the worst wildfires on record.

The promise of this case is also that it could give Treaty Nations the power to issue injunctions to stop any resource-related permitting done without Indigenous consent. And it would provide compensation for damages caused to Nations from centuries of boom-bust cycles that have resulted in degraded Treaty lands that we all must play a hand in protecting.

A win for the Plaintiff Nations is a win for all Treaty people. Support Nations to demand their right to self-determination to protect the lands and waters that give us all life. We are so thankful for your support in honouring such brilliantly strategic, passionate advocates for future generations.

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