Rolling out the red carpet for Indigenous protectors at VIFF

October 8, 2019: On the eve of the raising of a Big House in Heiltsuk territory, the Vancouver International Film Festival hosted a special joint screening with Tsleil Waututh and Heiltsuk Nations. RAVEN’s latest documentary, “Raven People Rising”, screened alongside “When the Tide Goes Out”, a piece by Eliot Galan chronicling the return of the clam harvest in Burrard Inlet.

Heiltsuk were leaders of the first Pull Together campaign: their visionary court challenge helped bring down one of the biggest oil companies on the planet and has kept the north and central coast free from tankers.

Now, Tsleil Waututh are carrying the Pull Together torch as they join forces with 3 other Nations in Pull Together: The People vs. TMX. The goal is to raise $400k by December 2019 to pursue strategic legal challenges that are our last, best chance to stop a dirty tar sands pipeline and tankers project from despoiling the Salish Sea.

Meanwhile, Heiltusk Nation are in court working to ensure the protection of the Great Bear Sea with a case that seeks to challenge Canada’s oil spill response regime — learn more and make a contribution at

It can feel overwhelming to be fighting Big Oil in a climate where, on the one hand, millions take to the streets demanding climate action while, at the same time, leaders proclaim we need to build more pipelines and expand dirty tar sands operations. At VIFF, we took courage from the story of the Heiltusk Nation and know that a fierce commitment to what is precious, backed by a solid strategy, can change the course of history.

Indigenous communities are leading a renaissance in which laws, traditions and ways of knowing sustained balanced relationships between human communities and ecosystems are being revitalized.

The Tsleil Waututh and Heiltsuk’s stories of resilience, and triumph, are madly inspiring.

Sign up here to organize a fundraising screening of “Raven People Rising” in your community!


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