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Reshaping the landscape, rewriting the future

While governments come and go, a legal precedent set in the Supreme Court of Canada is forever. Join RAVEN in fighting for systemic change. Our movement is pushing back against environmental destruction, and creating better laws.

Defend the Treaties

Beaver Lake Cree Nation filed a constitutional challenge over the impacts of multiple tar sands mines and other industrial development in Beaver Lake Cree territory. They are the first community to ever challenge – and be granted a trial on – the cumulative environmental, social, and cultural impacts of industrial development. A win would force an ecosystems approach to environmental regulation in Canada's oil patch, slowing tar sands expansion and defending treaty rights for Indigenous Nations.

How the RAVEN Community supported this victory

 This is an ongoing case. However, substantial gains have been achieved in the pre-trial phase.

RAVEN proudly assisted Beaver Lake Cree Nation to apply for — and successfully secure — Advance Costs for a case they have shown to be of national importance. When Alberta appealed the Advance Cost ruling requiring Canada, Alberta, and BLCN to equally share the costs of litigation, the Nation fought the appeal all the way to the Supreme Court. With their 2022 Supreme Court victory, the Nation has helped enshrine the right to access to justice for all Nations who should never have to choose between going to court to protect their rights and providing clean water and basic necessities to their communities. For updates on the progress of the Defend the Treaties case - formerly the Tar Sands Trial - please check out the campaign page: https://raventrust.com/campaigns/.

Defending Wild Salmon

Wild salmon are the backbone of British Columbia. Thanks to sustained efforts led by Indigenous Nations along the Skeena River, the proposed LNG facility on Lelu Island will not be built! After years of growing opposition and legal challenges, Malaysian fossil fuel giant Petronas cancelled its proposal. We congratulate the Gitxsan, Gitanyow and Gitwilgyoots on their leadership and hard work to protect their land and culture, the survival of the salmon, and the integrity of the Skeena watershed.

How the RAVEN Community supported this victory

In 2017 Four Indigenous groups along the Skeena and the Nass Rivers challenged the proposed Petronas LNG facility in court. Their case was strong — in part thanks to support from RAVEN donors that helped them mount the best possible legal defence as they take on giants of industry and government. RAVEN was proud to stand with the Tsimshian tribe of Gitwilgyoots, the Gitanyow Hereditary Chiefs, the Gitxan House of Luutkudziiwus, and the Gitxan House of Gwininitxw to stop Petronas’ LNG pipeline and export terminal in the pristine salmon habitats that have sustained Indigenous families for millennia.

Protecting the Peel Watershed

In a unanimous 2017 decision, the Supreme Court of Canada upheld the plan to protect the majority of the Peel Watershed in northern Yukon. It is a massive victory for Nacho Nyak Dun, Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in, and Vuntut Gwitchin First Nations and cause for environmental celebration on a global scale. Now, the pure rivers running through a land of rugged mountains, boreal forests and tundra — one of the largest unspoiled natural areas left in North America — will be preserved. This exquisite and pristine land will be stewarded by a coalition led by Indigenous Peoples.

How the RAVEN Community supported this victory

“In January 2017, RAVEN stepped in to support the last leg of a multi-year legal journey, which culminated with the Supreme Court of Canada decision on December 1, 2017.

“It’s not every day that we come across an organization such as yours that would assist First Nations with such a cause as ours. Mahsi cho for all your efforts and RAVEN for providing fundraising and support to the Peel Land Use Planning court session. It has been an honor to work with you on this initiative.” Chief Roberta Joseph, Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in

Pull Together Against Enbridge

Canada approved the Northern Gateway pipeline & tankers project in 2014, against the wishes of the majority of citizens and communities in B.C. Over 100 First Nations declared a ban on tar sands pipelines and tankers in their territories, and critical legal challenges were launched to stop the project.

An alliance of Indigenous Nations was forged between the Heiltsuk, Kitasoo X'ai x'ais, Gitxaala, Gitga'at, Nadleh Whut’en, Nak’azdli and Haida Nations. Based on the flawed Joint Review Panel findings, the successful court cases led to the cancelling of the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline and tankers project.

How the RAVEN community supported this victory

Communities across B.C. responded by hosting film screenings, musical events, and raising money online to support their fight. Businesses joined forces by donating proceeds during the "Week to End Enbridge", while major donors provided matching funds to amplify grassroots action. Together with Sierra Club BC, RAVEN raised more than $600,000 for the legal challenges that ultimately quashed the pipeline approval and led to victory.

Pull Together: The People vs. TMX

While the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project ultimately went ahead (subject to further legal challenges), the Indigenous legal challenges led to the voiding of the first approval in 2018, significantly slowing down construction.

59 First Nations (including almost every coastal nation directly affected by tanker traffic, 21 B.C. municipalities including North Vancouver, Victoria, and Burnaby) and over 210,000 citizens signed petitions opposing the Trans Mountain (TMX) pipeline expansion project. In June 2019, the Federal Court of Appeal ruled in favour of Indigenous Nations and quashed the pipeline approval. After a new set of consultations, the federal government again approved TMX in 2019 and this time the Court of Appeal upheld the approval. But Coldwater Nations successfully pushed for a re-route of the pipeline, protecting its community's aquifer.

How the RAVEN Community supported this campaign

We built an incredible movement of community activists, organizational allies and business supporters from Seattle to Montreal. People came together in wonderfully creative ways, hosting everything from Pancakes Not Pipelines brunch parties to a "TMX is Such a Drag" Burlesque show. Online fundraisers and community event organizers raised $1.2 million for the Tsleil-Waututh, Squamish, and Coldwater Nations to support court challenges to push back against TMX.


Stopping open pit mining: Victory for Tsilhqot’in

Tsilhqot’in: Teztan Biny/Fish Lake protected from “New Prosperity” mine 

In May 2020, the Supreme Court ended a decade-long push by Taseko Mines Ltd. to build an open pit gold/copper mine. The Supreme Court victory crowns a long and exhausting legal battle the Tsilhqot'in fought at every level of the judiciary, fending off Taseko’s multiple appeals, injunction applications and other legal tactics in both federal and provincial courts. 

How the RAVEN community supported this victory

RAVEN has enjoyed significant success mounting a formidable fundraising campaign that supported the Tsilhqot’in First Nations in successfully defending Teztan Biny (Fish Lake), a sacred homeland, against the repeated advances of the Taseko Mines Ltd. mining company.  The arduous path to victory took a whole decade. After the federal government rejected the mine, the Tsilhqot’in fended off a series of legal challenges by Taseko in federal court, culminating with the final rejection of the mine by the Supreme Court of Canada in 2020. For the ongoing Tsilhqot’in legal challenge to Taseko’s provincial permits to conduct “exploratory” drilling in the Teztan Biny/Fish Lake area even in the absence of a permitted mine, please see https://raventrust.com/campaigns/tsilhqotin

RAVEN has supported the Tsilhqot’in since the first Joint Review Panel hearing in 2010. Beyond the fundraising, RAVEN supporters made sure to show up at the courthouse in person to support the Tsilhqot’in during key hearings.

Click the dots to navigate to the next RAVEN Victory story

RAVEN is Justice - Powered by you

We’re constantly blown away by the commitment, rigour, vitality and creativity of our supporters. When it comes to throwing a party, hosting a fundraising concert, or pulling together an online crowdfunding page, the RAVEN community has consistently knocked it out of the park with heart and impact.

When you step up to become a RAVEN organizer or online fundraiser, you are taking the soft idea of ‘reconciliation’ and chiselling it into something far more effective: redress.

Our remarkable Festival Afloat has raised over $135k for Indigenous justice.
Ted raised $7500 on his birthday by setting up an online crowdfunding page to support RAVEN.
#WeAreTheStronghold was a star-studded concert in Toronto that raised $22k for Wet'suwet'en.


Black and white photo of a young Indigenous land protector holding drum

Rights, Charter, Action! Wet’suwet’en to Canada: see you in court

On December 13, the Federal Court of Appeal ruled on both La Rose v Canada and Misdzi Yikh v Canada, breathing life back into these vital climate change litigation cases. 

Turning the Tide: How Gitxaała Nation Defied Big Mining

Gitxaala Nation has won an important victory in the BC Supreme Court — thanks to supporters like you.  Together, we’ve worked long and hard to raise $440k, inspired by one Nation’s courageous stance against a pro-business mining regime in B.C. The Gitxaała Mineral Tenure Act challenge brought together nearly 2000 donors into a coalition of committed…

A glimmer of hope as Heiltsuk Nation and others intervene in the Saugeen Ojibway Nation Appeal

While RAVEN primarily supports Indigenous Nations with their own legal challenges, we also support access to justice by funding Interveners in Indigenous legal challenges across the Nation. For those of us who don’t speak legal jargon: Interveners are third-party voices who can bring unique perspectives to a case in which they may be impacted by…

Celebrating Victories in 2022!

Thanks to the RAVEN community, we have a lot to celebrate about 2022! Despite difficult times — wedged between a pandemic and global inflation — we raised over ONE MILLION DOLLARS for Indigenous justice in 2022!  Here are some highlights. Beaver Lake Cree Nation: BLCN celebrated a major victory after the Supreme Court of Canada…

A holiday message from our Executive Director, Susan Smitten.

I’m writing this on the ferry back to Victoria, following an uplifting and powerful few days of listening and learning with Gitxaala and Gitanyow leadership in Vancouver.   Our Groundswell Mining Justice Summit was one of our first in-person events where we were able to gather in a room in almost three years, it was…

aerial view of Lake Morrison

A Victory for Lake Babine!

RAVEN is celebrating a victory for Lake Babine Nation!

A landmark Supreme Court victory for Beaver Lake Cree Nation

Beaver Lake Cree set powerful precedent for Indigenous access to justice in Canada’s Supreme Court.

Water is life: a final chapter for Pull Together

Water is life. That’s the organizing principle that drew so many of us together to fight the Trans Mountain pipeline and tanker project. Whether you are from the prairies or the mountains, the coast or the interior, you care deeply about leaving a legacy for future generations. And, you put your energy, donations, advocacy and…

Questions & reflections on the brink of light

Though most of us are in the deep freeze of winter, the hours of darkness are getting shorter and the light is growing, bit by bit, every day. The conditions of nature are conducive to going inwards, while the restrictions of Covid demand that we contain ourselves and even, when necessary, isolate. In this time…

Celebrating Victories in 2021!

We have a lot to celebrate! This year RAVEN has surpassed our every goal, in every way. Raised 2.3 million in total for Indigenous justice and to sustain RAVEN’s work! We experienced so much generosity, such unrelentingly fierce determination by our partner Nations, and the crackling energy of several new campaigns – with 5000+  donors by…

What this pipeline needs is a good quashing

August 30 is the anniversary of the day, back in 2018, when the Federal Court of Appeal quashed the TMX pipeline. The decision set an important precedent. The court found the government failed to properly consult First Nations on the Trans Mountain project. It also found the government’s approval of the project violated its responsibility…

A letter from RAVEN’s Executive Director, Susan Smitten

Last week we celebrated the final victory in Tsilhqot’in Nation’s decade-long struggle to stop the desecration of their land by gold mining. The Supreme Court’s word is final: Taseko’s New Prosperity mine is dead. Done for. Kaput. There are some events that stick with you for life. You remember where you were, like when planes…

Celebrating a massive Tsilhqot’in win with the RAVEN community

Today, the sun is shining just a little more brightly in Tsilhqot’in territory. Glinting off of the alpine waters of Teztan Biny – also known as Fish Lake – the dancing light is a gift that, thanks to a precedent-setting legal victory, will keep on giving, forever.  On a Thursday morning before a holiday weekend,…

Triple Victory for Tsilhqot’in Nation vs. Taseko!!

image ©Toronto Star. Incredible news that we want to share right away! In RAVEN’s 10-year history we’ve seen First Nations win so many victories but we’ve never had an avalanche like this — 3 wins in 2 days! It all started December 17, when the BC Court of Appeal dismissed Taseko’s application for leave to…

Defend the Treaties case boosted: Beaver Lake Cree awarded advance costs

(français ci dessous) This week, the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench granted advance costs to Beaver Lake Cree Nation to allow it to proceed with its “Defend the Treaties” – formerly Tar Sands Trial – treaty case against Canada and Alberta. It’s a huge breakthrough for a case that’s been called ‘a gamechanger’ for Indigenous…

Magnificent Peel Watershed protected for future generations

After 15 years of court challenges that went all the way to the Supreme Court, Indigenous Nations came together on August 22nd to sign the final agreement protecting 67,000 square km of land and water in the Yukon. RAVEN is so honoured to have been part of the court challenge that brought victory to Nations…

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…

Tsilhqot’in Nation Secures Injunction Preventing Taseko From Commencing Drilling Program Until Appeal is Determined

In a decision released from the bench, the Court of Appeal granted an injunction to the Tsilhqot’in, effectively stopping exploratory drilling and road building by Taseko Mines. The court found that the likelihood of Taseko being able to meet its 2020 deadline was in “substantial doubt.” It accepted that there was a serious issue to…

We won! A resounding victory against Kinder Morgan

Epic. Ecstatic. Elated. Some of the words today from Indigenous leadership as they took in the Federal Court of Appeal ruling on the now quashed Kinder Morgan pipeline.  To quote Squamish elected councilor Khelsilem – “Quash is an old, old, old Squamish word that means ‘told you so!’” We’re celebrating too – doing the happy dance! …

Happy anniversary: the day Petronas blinked

On July 25 last year, Petronas cancelled their $36B Pacific Northwest LNG project, including a massive LNG terminal in the middle of the salmon nursery on Lelu Island. Faced with court challenges by four Indigenous groups: the Tsimshian tribe of Gitwilgyoots, the Gitanyow Hereditary Chiefs, the Gitxsan House of Gwininitxw and the Gitxsan House of…