Love in the time of COVID: A RAVEN 2020 retrospective

In the face of enormous injustice, it can be tempting to sigh and say, “too bad, there’s nothing I can do”. 

We get it: the inertia, after 10 months of lockdown, is real. For everyone who has been working to resist the TMX pipeline and tankers project, in 2020 it’s been a struggle to keep hope alive. 

Working with RAVEN lets us all be lifted up by incredible  stories of people and communities who know very well that this struggle for justice is a long game. People who, in the face of outrageous inequities  and racist power structures that conspire to hold them back, have persisted, resisted, and triumphed. 

  • Champions like Crystal Lameman, an outspoken advocate for her Beaver Lake Cree Nation as they pursue the groundbreaking Tar Sands Trial;  
  • Chief Marilyn Slett, who is pioneering an Indigenous-led response to a devastating oil spill that stands to forever change marine fossil fuel transport regime;  
  • Chiefs Ron Ignace and Roseanne Casimir, who are working to enshrine the caretaker values at the heart of the Nation’s identity into law via the Secwepemc title case.  

These Indigenous leaders — whose vows to sustain their lands, air and water are unbreakable —  are strengthened by your support.

We raised a million dollars this year. That’s 15 fundraising teams organizing online and pulling in a cool $100k. 3000 people listening in on webinars and live-streams. 950 monthly donors giving again and again to bolster long-term, game-changing campaigns. 83 businesses who put their hard work into stepping up for justice. 

This phenomenal outpouring of energy goes to support Indigenous land protectors who have fought hard to prevent the desecration of their lands and waters. We know you’re exhausted – we all are. But one sure-fire way to keep darkness at bay is to keep spreading the light. 

Campaigns in 2020 included: 

  •  an evolving effort to hold government and corporate powers responsible for an oil spill on Heiltsuk territory; 
  • nationwide support for Beaver Lake Cree Nation’s continued pursuit of environmental justice to stop degradation of traditional lands by tar sands industries; 
  • opposition by Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs to a proposed LNG pipeline; and 
  • support for the Secwepemc Nation’s strategic title case that will stop pollution of fish-bearing waterways, destruction of sensitive grasslands and forests, and help to preserve endangered species who live in these areas. 

What’s in store for us in 2021? 

We are preparing the ground for not one but two major new legal challenges. 

We’re  launching a bold new Intervenor Fund: this will allow an Indigenous perspective to be heard and strategically influence important human rights and environmental cases. Intervenors can have an important influence on judicial outcomes,  without themselves having to bear the burden of the full cost of judicial actions. 

Our podcast, RAVEN DeBriefs, enters its second season with a launch episode featuring Tsilhqot’in chief Russ Myers Ross. Also look for innovations in online learning in the new year with our upcoming “Home on Native Land” series. And, of course, we’ll continue to bring supporters exciting interviews on Instagram live and great stories on our spiffy new website

We couldn’t walk a step without RAVEN’s incredible community of supporters. But: if we join forces, we can fly. 

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